The first incumbent no-show was John Adams in 1801, who faced a challenge from his own vice president Thomas Jefferson.
At the time, electors voted twice, with the vice presidency and presidency going to the candidates with the second-highest and highest number of votes. A tie between Jefferson and running mate Aaron Burr was followed by the House of Representatives choosing Jefferson and ending Adams’ tenure. Before the ceremony, he left Washington at 4 a.m. on March 4, the date for inaugurations until 1933.
His son John Quincy Adams followed suit, leaving Washington before the celebrations of Andrew Jackson in 1829. Meanwhile in 1869, Andrew Johnson, who like Trump had survived an impeachment trial, refused to attend the inauguration of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, preferring instead to stay in the White House to sign legislation.
Circumstances rather than point-blank refusals were behind the inauguration absences of three other incumbents.