The day Trump left the White House: a lonesome goodbye

Trump's last day in the White House
Donald Trump bids Washington DC farewell
Trump's lonesome walk
Donald and Melania Trump avoided incoming president Biden
Trump's words while leaving the White House
Out with a wimper
Donald Trump's staff wept
Melania in black
Impeached twice
A divided America
Trump continued to sign pardons from the plane
Vice President Mike Pence did stay until the inauguration
Mike Pence did not come to say goodbye to Trump
Small speeches by First Lady and the president at the airport
Family lining up to salute the president one more time
Emotions ran high
Trump's last day in the White House

It's been a year since Joe Biden began his term as U.S. President. On that same day, January 20, 2021, Donald Trump tred the marble flooring of the White House one last time. His term as President ended with a quiet and sober departure. As one of the people present would say: "It felt like a funeral."

Donald Trump bids Washington DC farewell

"Have a nice life," he said somewhat clumsily during his final speech at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. Donald Trump left the presidency with a wimper, waving goodbye to a small group of fans at the White House and then to his closest relatives (who would board Air Force One with him to Florida) on the airport. The presidential plane would bring him to Mar-a-Lago one last time, hours before his successor Joe Biden was to be inaugurated.

Trump's lonesome walk

Accompanied by Melania Trump, and before a small number of journalists and supporters, Donald Trump said goodbye to what had been his home for four years. The helicopter stood ready to take him to the airport. "We love you," some voices cried out. Overall, however, the farewell of Trump from the White House was underwhelming.

Donald and Melania Trump avoided incoming president Biden

Leaving a little after eight in the morning, Trump was outside the city before Joe Biden would be inaugurated. As such, he broke with a longstanding tradition in the United States. The last time a sitting president refused to attend the next president's inauguration was at the end of Andrew Johnson's term in 1869.

Trump's words while leaving the White House

"It has been the honor of my life," he told the group of reporters gathered there. "I hope it won't be a goodbye for long. We have given everything, I have always fought for you. We'll be back somehow."

"Remember us"

The outgoing president ended his improvised talk with a mixed message of well-wishing to the new administration. He suggested that the U.S. economy would be hard hit by the arrival of Democrat Joe Biden in the Oval Office. "Remember us then."

Out with a wimper

The Trumps' departure from the White House was very different from that of other outgoing U.S. presidents. Without the support of his team, Trump only had a few resounding military salutes and the applause of a small bunch of people to go with. "He went out with a wimper," TIME magazine said.

Donald Trump's staff wept

Newsweek cites former deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley in his description of the president's farewell. "Donald Trump's staff wept, made funeral comparisons at farewell event," it headed. "There were a lot of people crying," Gidley recalled.

Melania in black

Melania Trump's smiles appeared less awkward than those of her husband. Maybe it's because she practiced them a lot as a model, but it's also likely that she was glad to leave the White House behind her. "She just wants to go home," a CNN reporter summed up her feelings.

Impeached twice

Trump not only shares the record with Andrew Johnson of being one of the few presidents who did not attend their successor's inauguration, but they are also among the selected company of presidents who were impeached. And there's more: Trump beat every other president in history by getting impeached twice. He would be acquitted of his second impeachment by the Senate only after he left the presidency.

A divided America

His departure put an end to four years of a presidency that was both applauded and protested with passion. Political commentators expected that the political climate would become less polarized from the moment Trump left the White House lawn.

Read more: Donald Trump's presidency, a timeline with photos

Trump continued to sign pardons from the plane

It was not completely over at that moment, however. Even though he'd left the White House at eight in the morning, Trump continued to be president until noon that day. He even signed a few more pardons of convicted felons before his time was up.

Vice President Mike Pence did stay until the inauguration

While the Trumps skipped the inauguration, Mike Pence and his wife Karen did attend the ceremony and congratulated the incoming administration. They did not leave Washington until after the ceremony at noon.

Mike Pence did not come to say goodbye to Trump

What they failed to attend, though, was Trump's farewell. Trump's helicopter landed on Andrews Air Force Base where a small group of relatives and loyal staff were applauding him. But not his running mate.

Small speeches by First Lady and the president at the airport

Mike Pence did not show up at the little get-together on Joint Base Andrews where Air Force One was waiting to take the president and his family to Mar-a-Lago in Florida. A little more formal than the scene at the White House, Donald and Melania Trump held a little speech and even got a military salute with cannons at this goodbye ceremony.

Family lining up to salute the president one more time

Reporters spotted former White House spokesperson Sean Spicer in the crowd, as well as Trump's children and grandchildren. Here we see his eldest son Donald jr with his girlfriend Kimberley Guilfoyle. Behind them stands White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Emotions ran high

Hogan Gidley later recalled that he was standing next to a White House staff member when Donald Trump began his last speech on that airport. "The girl... all day was like, 'I'm going to be fine. It's all OK, this is how it should be. Everything is fine.'"

"Tears were pouring out from her glasses"

But as soon as Trump started speaking on the stage, Gidley looked at her, and "tears were pouring out from her glasses, and she said, 'I'm not fine, I'm not fine, I'm not fine." Newsweek cites Gidley's recollections as he made them in the Showtime program 'The Circus.'

(In the image: a Trump supporter awaiting him in Florida that day)

"I'll be back"

The gest of Trump's remarks at the White House and the airport was: "I'll be back." Perhaps with a new political party, as some reports from his inner circle suggest, or in another capacity. Trump never wanted to concede the elections, and on his very last day as president he could not bring himself to say goodbye forever.

Next: Key moments in the presidency of Donald Trump

 

 

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