Updated Jan 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump departs on final Air Force One flight

President Trump and his family took off on Air Force One at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning for the final time en route to Florida.

The big picture: Trump's final hours as president were punctuated by his decisions to snub his successor's inauguration and grant pardons to many of his allies who have been swept up in corruption scandals.

  • Simultaneously, congressional leaders were en route to attend Catholic mass with Joe Biden, hours before he is sworn is as the 46th president of the United States.
  • A White House spokesperson confirmed to Axios that Trump left President-elect Biden a note in the Oval Office, following longstanding presidential tradition.

Details: At 8:13 a.m., Trump exited the White House residence hand-in-hand with First Lady Melania Trump. He briefly stopped to speak to the press on the South Lawn before boarding Marine One.

  • Trump told them it has been an "honor of a lifetime" to serve, and said "goodbye" to the press, adding that it will hopefully not be a long goodbye.
  • He departed Marine One for the final time at 8:17 a.m., and landed at Joint Base Andrews at 8:28 a.m. The Trump family took photos on the tarmac as he arrived.
  • Trump took the stage minutes later, with "Hail to Chief" blaring in the background. A 21-gun salute sounded as he reached the podium.
  • Teleprompters that were set up were taken down before he went onstage.

What he's saying: The reality TV president ran through a list of his accomplishments in his farewell speech, and noted — in a line that everyone could agree on — that "we were not a regular administration." He did not once mention President-elect Joe Biden.

  • He told the crowd to "remember us" when they see an improving economy, something he says he laid the foundation for.
  • "I will always be fighting for you, I will be watching and I will be listening," Trump said. "I wish the new administration great luck and great success."
  • "Goodbye, we love you. We'll be back in some form. ... Have a good life," he concluded.

He then boarded Air Force One with his family, and gave one last wave at the top of the stairs.

  • Frank Sinatra's “My Way” played as the president took off — the words, "I did it my way," timed to the plane lifting off the tarmac at 9 a.m.
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