Vice President Kamala Harris bids farewell to predecessor Mike Pence in ‘honorary departure’

Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, stood on the U.S. Capitol steps Wednesday to bid farewell to her predecessor, former Vice President Mike Pence, and his wife, Karen, following Harris’ swearing-in ceremony on Inauguration Day 2021.

In a video of the honorary departure, the two couples stood and chatted for a few moments, even laughing, on the steps before the Pences got into a vehicle and were driven away.

The honorary departure involves the incoming vice president sending off the outgoing vice president and would have involved former President Donald Trump bidding farewell to President Joe Biden as well, though Trump did not attend the inauguration ceremony. 

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Instead, he and his wife, Melania left the White House early Wednesday morning for Joint Base Andrews. He gave a campaign-style farewell speech before boarding Air Force One for a final time as president and traveling to his Palm Beach club, Mar-a-Lago.

Pence opted not to attend that event and instead attended Biden’s inauguration.

Earlier that day, calm prevailed outside heavily fortified state capitol buildings across the U.S. as Biden and Harris were sworn in. 

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and First Gentleman Douglas Emhoff speak with former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and former Second Lady Karen Pence on the steps of the East Front of the U.S. Capitol following the inauguration of U.S. President J (During today's inauguration ceremony Joe Biden becomes the 46th president of the United States. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images))

The FBI had warned of the possibility for armed demonstrations leading up to the inauguration after Trump repeatedly and falsely claimed the election was stolen from him.

Fewer than a half-dozen demonstrators showed up outside the capitols in Concord, New Hampshire, and Lansing, Michigan. A lone protester wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat stood outside a chain-link fence surrounding the California Capitol in Sacramento, as dozens of police officers and National Guard troops guarded every entrance.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. This story was reported from Los Angeles.