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Video footage showed the arrival of the incoming couple who waved to photographers and embraced for more than a minute before heading in the entrance’s direction. But the Bidens were awkwardly left standing on the White House steps on their big day.
One official, who is not associated with the Biden team, told US outlet the National Journal the move was “petty”.
The source added: “The Trumps sent the butlers home when they left so there would be no one to help the Bidens when they arrived.”
The couple had to wait for around 15 seconds before the doors to the White House swung open to let them in, the report said.
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One White House commentator described it as a “big protocol breach”.
Mr Trump was nowhere to be seen at Mr Biden’s inauguration in another snub and break in presidential tradition.
The departing 45th US President held his own lavish farewell ceremony from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland that morning.
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He told a crowd of supporters “We will be back in some form” before leaving for his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
The complications follow an unorthodox handover of power from one US administration to the other.
In addition to Mr Trump snubbing the inauguration, former First Lady Melania Trump was not there to give Jill Biden a tour of the White House, which has also been described as a break from custom.
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President Biden has spent his first few days in office overturning many of Mr Trump’s policies.
On the same day he was inaugurated, Mr Biden signed an executive order to re-enter the United States into the Paris Climate Accord, which Mr Trump had left.
Within hours he also prevented the US from withdrawing from the World Health Organisation – another move Mr Trump had spearheaded.
Mr Biden also halted funding for Donald Trump’s controversial border wall with Mexico, which was never completed under his presidency.
Dozens of other policies, including reforms to immigration and the US approach to the coronavirus pandemic, were also signed.
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