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Report: Trump plans to leave White House early before Biden inauguration

Then-President Donald J. Trump waves Sept. 8, 2020, at Joint Base Andrews, Md., as he boards Air Force One. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)
January 15, 2021

President Donald Trump reportedly plans to leave the White House early on inauguration day, Wednesday, Jan. 20, on a final flight aboard Air Force One before his term ends.

Two sources familiar with the plans told NBC News that Trump will leave the presidential residence early Wednesday morning and fly to his home in West Palm Beach, Fla. He is expected to land in Florida before noon, ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, scheduled for 12 p.m. EST in Washington D.C.

One of the sources said Trump did not want to leave the White House on any aircraft other than Air Force One. An aircraft is only designated as Air Force One until the oath of office has been administered to that president’s successor. By leaving early on Wednesday, Trump would thereby still be flying on board Air Force One when it lands in Florida on Wednesday.

Other plans for the final day of Trump’s presidential term are still taking shape. Trump is reportedly planning a farewell ceremony at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Wednesday before departing for Florida.

The White House had not responded to an American Military News request for comment on Trump’s farewell itinerary at the time this article was published.

Trump previously announced he would not be attending Biden’s inauguration. He tweeted, “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”

The tweet is no longer visible as Twitter suspended Trump’s account that same day.

Trump’s departure from the White House comes after a contentious election, in which Trump contested the results, citing fraud and mishandling of votes. On Jan. 6, Trump called on supporters to rally in Washington D.C. as lawmakers counted electoral votes to certify Biden’s election win. As Trump spoke in D.C., demonstrators stormed the U.S. Capitol, forcing lawmakers to delay the vote-counting process. During the incident, demonstrators clashed with police and one officer, Brian Sicknick died after sustaining injuries. A woman, Ashli Babbit, was fatally shot by a Capitol Police officer and another woman and two men died of what police described as medical emergencies during the incident at the Capitol.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump, for a second time, on allegations he encouraged the crowds to storm the Capitol, inciting an insurrection. The impeachment charge came even as Trump made repeated calls for demonstrators to act peacefully. The impeachment measure now moves to the Senate, where the trial may begin after Trump leaves office.

The Senate must have a two-thirds majority vote to convict a president of an impeachment charge.