In a break with tradition, President Donald Trump joined just a handful of former American presidents choosing not to attend their successor's inauguration.
He left the White House for the final time of his presidency Wednesday morning ahead of President Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol. Before boarding Air Force One and taking off for Florida, Trump gave a farewell address and assured his supporters they have not seen the end of him.
"Just a goodbye, we love you, we will be back in some form," declared Trump.
Trump's family, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and supporters joined the crowd at Joint Base Andrews to bid farewell to the 45th president.
"I will always fight for you," promised Trump. "I will be watching, I will be listening and I will tell you that the future of this country has never been better. I wish the new administration great luck and great success. I think they'll have great success. They have the foundation to do something really spectacular."
Trump touted his accomplishments of putting in place three Supreme Court Justices, nearly 300 federal judges, and delivering a COVID-19 vaccine in just nine months.
"And I can only say this: we have worked hard. We've left it all, as the athletes would say, we've left it all on the field," said Trump.
Former First Lady Melania Trump described being First Lady as her "greatest honor."
"God bless you all, God bless your families, and God bless this beautiful nation," said Melania Trump.
As the Trumps left for Florida, Vice President Mike Pence and Republican congressional leadership attended church with President Joe Biden, a long-standing inauguration day tradition ahead of the swearing-in ceremony. While Trump was noticeably absent from Biden's swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol, Pence and his wife, Karen, were in attendance.
In the final hours of his presidency, Trump issued 73 pardons and 70 commutations to people including former chief strategist Steve Bannon, former members of Congress Rick Renzi and Duke Cunningham, and rappers Lil' Wayne and Kodak Black.
Even though Trump opted out of the Inauguration Day ceremonies, he did follow the tradition of leaving a letter for President Biden.
Also being sworn in Wednesday were two new Georgia senators, Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Jon Ossoff (D-GA), meaning the Senate will be evenly split 50-50 for former President Trump's second impeachment trial. It's still unclear when the trial will begin, if it is constitutional to impeach him when he is already out of office, and if the Senate has the votes to convict him.
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