As the finale of his presidential reign, Trump is boycotting President-elect Biden's inauguration ceremony, the first president in modern history to do so.
After a tumultuous four-year stint in office, President Donald Trump has bid adieu to Washington D.C. and the presidency. Trump took to leaving for Florida a few hours before the inauguration ceremony, having already stated that he had not planned to attend. As he boarded Air Force One one last time, he pumped his fist and waved at a modest crowd of followers that had gathered to bid him farewell at Joint Base Andrews. He said to them, "We will be back in some form. So have a good life. We will see you soon." Trump departed a city that is currently witnessing immense military fortification after inciting an insurrection at the Capitol that left five dead including a Capitol Police officer earlier this month.
Trump leaves the White House pic.twitter.com/fed7XB4I99— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 20, 2021
Four years ago at his own inauguration ceremony, Trump declared that he would empower America’s “forgotten men and women,” promised to stir a “new national pride”, and protect America from the “ravages” of countries he claimed had stolen American jobs. Calling it a "carnage", the then newly-elected president vowed to the world that the vision from that moment on was going to be "America first." Now in 2021, having lost his re-election, he leaves behind a horrifying legacy—a country whose xenophobia and racism on display for the world to see, the loss of millions of jobs, and 400,000 people dead from the coronavirus. None of these aspects of his four-year reign seem to faze the 45th President of The United States, who said to reporters, “It’s been a great honor, the honor of a lifetime. The greatest people in the world, the greatest home in the world,” as he boarded Marine One on South Lawn to make his way to Andrews. “We love the American people, and again, it has been something very special. And I just want to say goodbye but hopefully, it’s not a long-term goodbye. We’ll see each other again,” he promised.
BREAKING: President Trump departs White House for final time as president. He will travel to Florida instead of attending Joe Biden's inauguration. https://t.co/L2nNpqT0eB— The Associated Press (@AP) January 20, 2021
Trump can perhaps, add this feather to his cap as well—the first president in modern history to unabashedly boycott his successor's inauguration and swearing-in ceremony. After refusing to concede the election for months and declaring voter fraud, the president has consistently refused to co-operate in traditional passing-the-baton ceremonies and other transition period activities that typically take place during the period between the election and inauguration. This includes inviting Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden over for a traditional get-to-know-you visit. However, per CNN, Trump reportedly did write the traditional handoff letter to Biden just as his predecessors did for their respective successors.
NOW: Donald Trump leaves the White House on his last day as president. He’s skipping Joe Biden’s inauguration later this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/QO1apVcISR— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) January 20, 2021
Following the events in Washington D.C. earlier this month, it seems that Trump is leaving office with his lowest approval rate, and a shrink quorum of supporters from within his party, despite 74 million people having voted for him in the election last November. In a historically bipartisan vote, 10 Republicans voted for his impeachment, and the insurrection seemed to even impact his relationship with outgoing Vice-President Mike Pence, who until then had been nothing but a staunch supporter of his presidency. It remains to be seen whether he has any supporters left in his corner and the hasty departure of many senior officials following the Capitol riots. Though aides had urged Trump to attempt to salvage his legacy during his final days in office, he instead chose to continue abusing his power by issuing 73 pardons and 70 clemencies at the eleventh hour, including Steve Bannon, Lil Wayne, Paul Erickson, to name a few.
President Trump says he "will be back."— Sebastian Gorka DrG (@SebGorka) January 20, 2021
His remarks today from Joint Base Andrews, on his way to Mar-a-Lago. pic.twitter.com/ZsVA1hgplc
"It's how we heal." President-elect Joe Biden is calling on Americans to remember lives lost to the coronavirus. He spoke at a ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial’s reflecting pool, which was lit with 400 lights in honor of the 400,000 U.S. dead. https://t.co/huXoYYOChU— The Associated Press (@AP) January 20, 2021
Now no longer the de facto party leader that he was prior to the Capitol riots, only time will tell what Trump's next move will be. A senior adviser noted that the president was considering starting his own political party after retiring to South Florida a small group of former White House aides. Despite a popular base with Republican voters, Trump, criticizing and lashing out at any members of his party that refuted his claims of a fraudulent election and perceived disloyalty means he is unlikely to be chosen as their candidate in the future. Some have even speculated that Trump may return in a future election as a third-party candidate. Only time will tell.