Washington (AP) – A few hours before the inauguration of the new US President Joe Biden, outgoing incumbent Donald Trump left the White House.
Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump departed Wednesday morning (local time) aboard the Presidential Helicopter Marine One from the White House towards Andrews Air Base.
The Republican is the first US president since 1869 to evade the inauguration ceremony of his successor in front of the Capitol in Washington. Trump’s presence at the ceremony is said to be political, but it has no legal effect. Biden is sworn in as the new president, even without his predecessor. Participation in the swearing-in symbolizes a peaceful transfer of power. Trump had refused to agree to such a campaign during the election campaign.
Trump wants to say goodbye with a military ceremony at Andrews Air Base in Maryland. Then he and Melania Trump plan to fly to Palm Beach, Florida, where his club resort Mar-a-Lago is located on the government plane Air Force One. Trump has not yet commented on his plans for the future.
Trump had already announced on January 8 that he would not participate in Biden’s swearing-in. Biden had called it a “good thing” and said he and Trump had the same opinion for once. At the same time, Biden stressed that outgoing Vice President Mike Pence was welcome. Pence and the departing Second Lady Karen Pence want to attend the ceremony.
Trump had used his last office hours to pardon more than 70 people, including ex-chief strategist Steve Bannon, as the White House announced Wednesday night. The wave of grace was expected. Former US presidents also exercised this right at the end of their term. However, things were usually less controversial. Shortly before Christmas, Trump had pardoned a number of faithful companions.
According to a poll published by CNN on Sunday, the Republican is leaving office with the worst results since moving to the White House, with only 33 percent saying they are positive about him. Trump also faced severe criticism within his own ranks when his supporters stormed the Capitol two weeks ago. Trump faces another impeachment process in Congress for “inciting insurrection,” which could result in a life ban.
Trump had tried to undo Biden’s election victory until the storm on the Capitol. The Republican sees herself being taken away from victory by electoral fraud. His lawyers have provided no evidence of this. Dozens of lawsuits against the election results in various states have failed. Trump never congratulated Biden on winning the election.
Biden and future Vice President Kamala Harris will be sworn in at 12:00 PM (local time / 6:00 PM CEST). Former US Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have agreed to attend. With them, Biden, Harris, the new First Lady Jill Biden and the new Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff want to lay a wreath at the grave of the unknown soldier at the National Cemetery in Arlington. Biden wants to sign the first orders on Wednesday.