It has been customary for an outgoing first lady her successor at the White House

By Virginia Chamlee
January 19, 2021 06:47 PM
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Jill Biden (left) and Melania Trump
| Credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty; SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty

While it is customary for an outgoing first lady to welcome her predecessor for a tea-and-tour of the White House, Melania Trump has not reached out to Dr. Jill Biden at all, according to Biden's daughter, Ashley, who sat with Jenna Bush Hager for an interview that aired Tuesday on Today.

"Has your mom heard from Melania Trump about doing the traditional protocols?" Hager asked Ashley.

"No. I don't think they're doing the traditional protocol. Which is unfortunate, but I think we're all okay with it," Ashley responded.

(A spokeswoman for Mrs. Trump did not respond to questions from PEOPLE about this.)

Both President Donald Trump and his wife have shunned the customs that are traditional of an outgoing first couple.

The president, instead, has spent the months since his election loss making unfounded claims that it was stolen from him — going so far as to attempt to overturn the results by nearly any means necessary.

Two weeks ago, during a "Stop the Steal" rally to coincide with the counting of the Electoral College votes, Trump encouraged his supporters to march on a joint session of Congress in a scene that eventually turned into a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

In late November, Trump's administration did begin assisting the president-elect's White House transition team after weeks of delay, though the president himself made clear he had no plans to meet with Biden.

Earlier this month, Trump 74, tweeted that he would not be attending Biden's swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday.

"To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th," wrote the president, who will take his final flight aboard Air Force One prior to the inaugural ceremonies, and head to his club, Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida.

In avoiding the customary hand-off of duties, the Trumps are turning their backs on a tradition that was extended to them in 2016 and early 2017, by then-President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Last year, Mrs. Obama recalled her own handoff of the first lady duties to Mrs. Trump in 2016, writing in a lengthy Instagram caption that America's leaders need "to honor the electoral process and do [their] part to encourage a smooth transition of power."

As she explained on Instagram then, the outgoing administration invited the incoming Trump staffers into the White House with "detailed memos" that offered "what we'd learned over the past eight years."

Mrs. Obama also invited Melania Trump to the White House, to discuss the transition and offer advice about what life would soon be like.

"I have to be honest and say that none of this was easy for me," Mrs. Obama wrote on Instagram. "Donald Trump had spread racist lies about my husband that had put my family in danger. That wasn't something I was ready to forgive. But I knew that, for the sake of our country, I had to find the strength and maturity to put my anger aside." 

Despite the obvious challenges associated with setting her differences aside, given the years the Trumps had spent spreading the conspiracy theory that President Obama wasn't born in America — Mrs. Obama wrote that welcoming them to the White House, in person, was the "right thing to do."

"Our love of country requires us to respect the results of an election even when we don't like them or wish it had gone differently—the presidency doesn't belong to any one individual or any one party," she added.