Donald Trump on Wednesday skipped his successor Joe Biden’s inauguration and 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, 74, has already announced that he will not attend the inauguration of Biden as President and Kamala Harris as the Vice President, becoming the first president to skip his successor’s inauguration since Andrew Johnson in 1869.
He left the White House on the Marine One presidential helicopter along with his wife Melania.
“It was an honour of a lifetime,” he said before departing the White House.
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 will host 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.
Vice President Mike Pence will not attend Trump’s farewell and is instead scheduled to attend Biden’s inauguration.
Extending his “best wishes” and praying for the success of the new administration in keeping America safe and prosperous, Trump in his farewell address has said that Americans must unify around their shared values and rise above partisan rancour to forge their common destiny.
Trump said he embarked on a mission to make America great again for all Americans.
“I took on the tough battles, the hardest fights, the most difficult choices because that’s what you elected me to do. Your needs were my first and last unyielding focus.
“As I conclude my term as the 45th President of the United States, I stand before you truly proud of what we have achieved together. We did what we came here to do and so much more,” he said.
Trump said to serve as the President has been an honour beyond description.