Jimmy Carter, 96, Misses His First Inauguration in 44 Years as He and Rosalynn Send 'Best Wishes'
Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn "look forward to a successful administration," a spokesperson for the Carter Center said
In a statement shared with PEOPLE, a spokesperson for the Carter Center said the former president, 96, and his wife, 93, "will not travel to Washington for the inauguration but have sent their best wishes to President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect [Kamala] Harris and look forward to a successful administration."
Biden, 78, and Harris, 56, will make history on Wednesday upon their swearing-in ceremony, which will see Harris become the first woman in U.S. history to take the vice presidency, as well as the first Black person and first person of Asian descent to hold the office.
Despite some officials expressing security concerns surrounding their inauguration in light of the violent riots in the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, Biden has said he's not concerned about taking the oath of office outside.
"I'm not afraid of taking the oath outside," he told reporters on Jan. 11, adding, "I think it's critically important that there be a real serious focus on holding those folks who engaged in sedition and threatened people's lives, defaced public property, caused great damage, that they be held accountable."
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Two days after the attempted coup on the Capitol, which was incited by President Donald Trump, Trump tweeted that he would not be attending Biden's inauguration. However, outgoing Vice President Mike Pence decided to attend the ceremony, keeping with tradition.
"President and Mrs. Bush look forward to returning to the Capitol for the swearing in of President Biden and Vice President Harris," his chief of staff, Freddy Ford, wrote on Twitter. "I believe this will be the eighth Inauguration they've had the privilege of attending — President Trump's being the most recent — and witnessing the peaceful transfer of power is a hallmark of our democracy that never gets old."
The Clintons and Obamas, who attended Trump's inauguration in 2017 alongside Bush, 74, and Carter, are expected to be in attendance.
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Meanwhile, America's oldest living former president recently said he was eager and awaiting the opportunity to receive the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine.
"After consulting with his doctors, President Carter is looking forward to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to him," a spokesperson said in a statement last month via the Carter Center.
The Carter Center said earlier in December that the former president and Mrs. Carter are "in full support of COVID-19 vaccine efforts and encourage everyone who is eligible to get immunized as soon as it becomes available in their communities."