Dec 6, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump's wild Inauguration Day exit

Illustration of Trump's silhouette against a spotlight.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump is considering a made-for-TV grand finale: a White House departure on Marine One and final Air Force One flight to Florida for a political rally opposite Joe Biden's inauguration, sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: The former network star is privately discussing using his waning powers as commander in chief to order up the exit he wants after dissing Biden by refusing to concede the election, welcome him to the White House or commit to attending his inauguration.

The big picture: The Trump talk could create a split-screen moment: the outgoing president addressing a roaring crowd in an airport hangar while the incoming leader is sworn in before a socially distanced audience outside the Capitol, as NBC News first reported.

  • Immediately announcing he is running for re-election in 2024 would set up four years of Trump playing Biden's critic-in-chief.
  • The visual also would embody the vast difference in the two leaders' approaches to the pandemic.
  • And flying off from the South Lawn before landing in Florida would let Trump escape protests, the normal pleasantries of welcoming the incoming president to the White House — and sitting there while Biden takes the oath of office.

What they’re saying: The Trump campaign declined to comment on his plans.

  • White House spokesman Judd Deere said: “Anonymous sources who claim to know what the President is or is not considering have no idea. When President Trump has an announcement about his plans for Jan. 20 he will let you know.”
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