Melania Trump is joining her husband in breaking with traditional protocol when it comes to the presidential transition.
President-elect Joe Biden's daughter, Ashley Biden, 39, indicated in an exclusive interview with TODAY's Jenna Bush Hager that the current first lady will not be participating in the usual ceremony with Jill Biden. The tradition involves the outgoing first lady welcoming her successor for a "tea and tour" visit and an invitation to tour the second floor of the White House and meet with the residence staff.
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Biden said her mother has had no contact from the first lady.
"No, I don't think they're doing the traditional protocol, which is unfortunate, but I think we're all OK with it," Ashley Biden told Jenna.
One former White House social secretary indicated the tradition has importance beyond just a courtesy.
“Mrs. Trump should have invited Dr. Biden in for the traditional coffee,” Capricia Marshall, who served as White House social secretary in the Clinton administration, told The New York Times. "Typically, she would come prepared with questions, she’ll meet and talk to the chef, the full time residence staff and have an opportunity for them to break the ice. It’s a courtesy, but logistically it’s incredibly helpful. That didn’t happen."
In the exclusive conversation that appeared on TODAY Tuesday, Ashley Biden spoke out in her first-ever television interview and was also joined by four of Joe Biden's grandchildren. They talked about Joe Biden's path to the presidency, the lasting love of his wife, and how the family handled a bitterly contested presidential election as well as the tragic loss of family members over the years.
President Donald Trump has already said that he will not be attending the inauguration, making him the first president since Andrew Johnson in 1869 to not be present at his successor's swearing-in ceremony.
Former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama welcomed the Trumps to the White House shortly after the 2016 election and on Inauguration Day in 2017, which included the memorable scene of an awkward gift presentation that caught Michelle Obama off guard.
Melania Trump shared a farewell message on social media Monday in which she called her time as first lady "the greatest honor" of her life.
"The past four years have been unforgettable," she said in a nearly seven-minute-long video posted on Twitter. "As Donald and I conclude our time in the White House, I think of all the people I have taken home in my heart and their incredible stories of love, patriotism and determination."