Donald Trump departed the White House on Wednesday morning for the final time as president, walking across the South Lawn and stepping into Marine One shortly after 8 a.m.
In brief remarks to reporters gathered outside the White House, Trump said being president had been a “great honor” and “the honor of a lifetime.” He did not respond to questions.
In the minutes before Trump’s exit, a small group of White House staffers could be seen carrying boxes to the presidential helicopter.
Trump departed the White Hosue en route Joint Base Andrews, where he will participate in a ceremonial send-off featuring current and former administration officials. He is also expected to give remarks there.
Trump had declined to join congressional leaders in attending a church service with President-elect Joe Biden on Inauguration Day morning. He will not attend Biden’s swearing-in, either, although Vice President Mike Pence will.
Only three other former presidents have declined to attend the inauguration of their White House successor: John Adams in 1801, John Quincy Adams in 1829 and Andrew Johnson in 1869.
Former President Richard Nixon — who resigned in 1974 under threat of impeachment — was not present when President Gerald Ford was subsequently sworn-in at the White House.
In fact, Trump’s departure from the White House on Wednesday bore a striking resemblance to Nixon’s more than four decades ago. At the time, Ford escorted Nixon to Marine One — similarly stationed on the South Lawn — where the disgraced outgoing president famously raised his arms in a double “V” salute.
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