Outgoing US President Donald Trump walked out of the White House for the final time on Wednesday just hours ahead of US President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Trump had earlier announced that he would not be attending Joe Biden’s swearing-in ceremony, becoming the first president to skip his successor’s inauguration since Andrew Johnson in 1869.
Addressing the press at the Joint Air Force Base Andrews, shortly after leaving the White House, Donald Trump described his four-year tenure as US president as “incredible years” in which his administration “accomplished so much together”.
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“These have been incredible four years. We accomplished so much together. I want to thank my family, friends and my staff. Want to thank you for your effort. People have no idea how hard this family worked,” Donald Trump said.
— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) January 20, 2021
Speaking about his efforts to handle the Covid-19 pandemic, Trump said, “We were hit so hard by the pandemic. We did something that is considered a medical miracle — the vaccine that was developed in nine months.”
“I will always fight for you. I will be watching, listening. The future of this country has never been better. I wish the new administration great luck and success. I think they have the foundation to do something really spectacular,” he added.
Donald Trump exited the White House for the last time as the US president to board a flight to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, which will be his permanent home after he failed to win his re-election bid. Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump emerged out of the White House around 8.12 am local time.
Walking down a red carpet rolled out for the departing leader, Trump and Melania both wearing black posed for a picture.
“It was an honour of a lifetime,” Trump said before departing the White House.
He said he just wanted to walk over and say “goodbye” and it will “not hopefully be a long goodbye”. There is speculation that he might soon announce his 2024 re-election bid.
He left the White House on the Marine One presidential helicopter along with his wife Melania.
Trump, a Republican, became the first US president to lose a re-election bid since 1992. In 1992, George HW Bush failed to win his second bid for the White House.
He hosted a farewell ceremony at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before catching a final flight on Air Force One to begin post-presidential life at his Mar-a-Lago golf club in Palm Beach.
Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence did not attend Trump’s farewell and is instead scheduled to attend Biden’s inauguration.
(With PTI inputs)