Sources at NBC News report that we shouldn't expect to see Trump's pouting face when Joe Biden took office. That's a shame, not only because it would be a source of national entertainment to see Trump scowl through the ceremony, but also because it would be an absolute lock in a long line of peaceful transitions. Trump wouldn't be the first, however; Andrew Johnson was the last of three to refuse to attend the successor inauguration. Racist. Authoritarian. Accused. Sounds like a suitable model.
Not only does Trump not want to show up to signal the unbroken chain of governance, but he also intends to deny Biden the basic courtesies of handing over power. That said, Trump does not intend to offer Biden and his family the traditional visit and tour of the White House. On the one hand, that's okay. Biden knows where to find it. However, it is a symbol of how Trump will achieve the bare minimum that could be interpreted as acceptance of the election result. Trump also never has any intention of calling Biden to admit.
There is little doubt that opening in 2021 will be a restricted affair, limited by the pandemic that Trump did not even attempt to control. (When a few million doses of vaccine get to the frontline health care workers, it might be nice to invite as many of them as possible to Biden's guests and celebrate them on inauguration day.)
But Trump will likely do anything to rain that day. Not only will he not attend – he can choose this day to announce the start of his 2024 campaign. Not only would that announcement be a thumb in the eye of tradition and a big middle finger for a moment of national unity, but it would be an absolute signal to Mitch McConnell and Republicans in both the House and Senate that any sign of normal governance is over on the next four years would be unacceptable.
Even so, Trump should remember something … every act gets old at some point. And he's already old.