President Donald Trump speaks to crowd before boarding Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.(AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

President Donald Trump speaks to crowd before boarding Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.(AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

Trump bids farewell to Washington, hints of comeback

Trump refused to participate in any of the symbolic passing-of-the-torch traditions

His term at an end, President Donald Trump said farewell to Washington on Wednesday but also hinted about a comeback despite a legacy of chaos, tumult and bitter divisions in the country he led for four years.

“So just a goodbye. We love you,” Trump told supporters at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland where he walked across a red carpet and boarded Air Force One to head to Florida. “We will be back in some form.”

Trump departed office as the only president ever impeached twice, and with millions more out of work than when he was sworn in and 400,000 dead from the coronavirus. Under his watch, Republicans lost the presidency and both chambers of Congress. He will be forever remembered for inciting an insurrection, two weeks before Democrat Joe Biden moved into the White House, at the Capitol that left five dead, including a Capitol Police officer, and horrified the nation. It was on Trump’s on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2017, that he had painted a dire picture of “American carnage.”

The first president in modern history to boycott his successor’s inauguration, Trump is still stewing about his loss and maintains that election won by Biden was stolen from him. Republican officials in several critical states, members of his own administration and a wide swath of judges, including those appointed by Trump, have rejected those arguments.

Trump refused to participate in any of the symbolic passing-of-the-torch traditions surrounding the peaceful transition of power, including inviting the Joe and Jill Biden to the White House for a get-to-know-you visit.

He did follow at least one tradition: The White House said Trump left behind a note for Biden. A Trump spokesman, Judd Deere, declined to say what Trump wrote or characterize the sentiment in the note, citing privacy for communication between presidents.

Members of Trump’s family gathered for the send-off on the military base along with the president’s loyalists, who chanted “We love you!” “Thank you, Trump” and “U.S.A.” Four Army cannons fired a 21-gun salute.

Speaking without notes, Trump said his presidency was an “incredible four years.” He told the crowd that he and first lady Melania Trump loved them and praised his family for its hard work, saying they could have chosen to have an easier life.

“It’s been something very special. We’ve accomplished a lot,” Trump said, citing the installation of conservative judges, creation of the space force, development of coronavirus vaccines and management of a robust pre-pandemic economy. “I hope they don’t raise your taxes, but if they do, I told you so,” he said of the incoming Biden administration.

He acknowledged that his was not a “regular administration” and told his backers that he would be returning in some form. He said the Trump campaign had worked so hard: “We’ve left it all on the field,” he said.

Without mention’s Biden’s name, Trump wished the new administration great luck and success, which he said would made easier because he had laid “a foundation.”

“I will always fight for you,” he told the crowd. “I will be watching. I will be listening.”

Before arriving at the airport, Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House that being president had been the honour of his lifetime.

“We love the American people, and again, it has been something very special,” he said over the sound of the Marine One helicopter. “And I just want to say goodbye but hopefully it’s not a long-term goodbye. We’ll see each other again.”

If the schedule holds, by the time Biden is sworn in, Trump will have landed at his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. He will face an uncertain future.

Aides had urged Trump to spend his final days in office trying to salvage his legacy by highlighting his administration’s achievements — tax cuts, scaled-back federal regulations, normalizing relations in the Middle East. But Trump largely refused, taking a single trip to the Texas border and releasing a video in which he pledged to his supporters that “the movement we started is only just beginning.” In his final hours, Trump issued pardons for more than 140 people, including his former strategist, rap performers, ex-members of Congress and other allies of him and his family.

Trump will retire to Florida with a small group of former White House aides as he charts a political future that looks very different now from just two weeks ago.

Before the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, Trump had been expected to remain his party’s de facto leader, wielding enormous power as he served as a kingmaker and mulled a 2024 presidential run. But now he appears more powerless than ever — shunned by so many in his party, impeached twice, denied the Twitter bullhorn he had intended to use as his weapon and even facing the prospect that, if he is convicted in his Senate trial, he could be barred from seeking a second term.

EXPLAINER: Can Trump be impeached after leaving office?

For now, Trump remains angry and embarrassed, consumed with rage and grievance. He spent the week after the election sinking deeper and deeper into a world of conspiracy, and those who have spoken with him say he continues to believe he won in November. He has lashed out at Republicans for perceived disloyalty and has threatened, both publicly and privately, to spend the coming years backing primary challenges against those he feel betrayed him.

Some expect him to eventually turn completely on the Republican Party, perhaps by flirting with a run as a third-party candidate as an act of revenge.

For all the chaos and drama and bending the world to his will, Trump ended his term as he began it: largely alone. The Republican Party he co-opted finally appeared to have had enough after Trump’s supporters violently stormed the Capitol, hunting for lawmakers who refused to go along with Trump’s unconstitutional efforts to overturn the results of a democratic election.

White House cleaning crews worked overnight Wednesday and were still going as the sun rose to get the building cleaned and ready for its new occupants. Most walls were stripped down to the hooks that once held photographs, and offices were devoid of the clutter and trinkets that gave them life.

While Trump has left the White House, he retains his grip on the Republican base, with the support of millions of loyal voters, along with allies still helming the Republican National Committee and many state party organizations.

The city he leaves will not miss him. Trump rarely left the confines of the White House, except to visit his own hotel. He and his wife never once ate dinner at any other local restaurant and never ventured out to shop in its stores or see the sites. When he did leave, it was almost always to one of his properties: his golf course in Virginia, his golf course in New Jersey, his private club and nearby golf course in Palm Beach, Florida.

The city overwhelmingly supported Biden, with 93% of the vote. Trump received just 5.4% of the vote — or fewer than 18,600 ballots — not enough to fill the Washington Capitals hockey arena.

___

Associated Press writer Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report.

Jill Colvin, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Donald TrumpUSA

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pet owners are leaving more dog waste than ever before on Nanaimo’s paths and trails, says letter writer. (Stock photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Dog owners need to pick up after their pets

Letter writer says he’s ‘disgusted’ by dog walkers not picking up their dog waste

The Nanaimo African Heritage Society is capping its month of Black History Month celebrations with a virtual gala on Sunday, Feb. 28. (News Bulletin photo)
Nanaimo African Heritage Society presents virtual Black History Month gala

Event to feature a variety of speakers and performers

(Black Press file)
Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools reports COVID-19 exposure at Cedar Elementary

School district says Island Health has completed contact tracing

(News Bulletin file)
RDN warns residents not to give financial info over phone

Resident hung up and called RDN after receiving call for credit card information

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from the beach in rescue attempt in Nanaimo

Animal dies in spite of efforts of marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

1957 photo shows Six Mile House-sponsored #4 1932 Ford stock car with Frank Morris (from left), Ted Mackenzie, Bill Sim and driver Gerry Sylvester. (Bud Glover/Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame)
Memories race as Western Speedway approaches its finish line

‘It was life to us:’ Vancouver Island racers, crew will never forget what the track gave them

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Wayne Allen's graduation photo from Chemainus Secondary School. (Photo submitted)
Brother charged with murder in Vancouver Island teenager’s Ontario death

Jesse James Allen stands accused in the death of Wayne Allen, a 2020 Chemainus Secondary grad

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen to field COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A 50-year-old man was stabbed in an altercation that started with a disagreement about physical distancing. (File photo)
Argument about physical distancing leads to stabbing in Nanaimo

Suspect arrested on Gabriola Island an hour after incident Wednesday, Feb. 24

Snuneymuxw artist Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun is among the artists participating in the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s Rain Shadow exhibit. His piece, ‘We Fell from the Sky/Together and Apart,’ depicts a Snuneymuxw creation story. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo Art Gallery exhibit explores the ways people think about place

‘Rain Shadow’ features work mostly by Vancouver Island and Gulf Island artists

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Most Read