Donald Trump has just departed the white house for the last time as US president before his successor President-elect Joe Biden will take the oath of office.
Just after 8 am on Wednesday, 20 January, Trump was filmed with his wife Melania boarding a helicopter to a ceremonial send-off at Joint Base Andrews for his final day in office, becoming the first outgoing president for 152 years not to attend the inauguration of an incoming President.
The outgoing president typically departs shortly after the incoming president is sworn in. But Trump, who fought bitterly to overturn the results of the 2020 election, is skipping President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, instead opting to orchestrate his own fanfare-filled exit while he is still commander-in-chief.
The couple will speak with gathered supporters before boarding Air Force One for the last time as president, en route to his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida.
Outgoing presidents typically travel home on special air mission jets, but Trump wanted to fly home on Air Force One. As he is still president, he will travel with the nuclear codes.
Meanwhile, inside the white house, staffers and movers are finalizing the transition of the residence and West Wing, packing up and disinfecting, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, ahead of the Biden administration’s arrival shortly after noon.