JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. — President Donald J. Trump left Washington aboard Air Power One for a remaining time on Wednesday, the long-lasting airplane creeping alongside the runway so the liftoff was timed to the closing strains of Frank Sinatra’s “My Method.”
In some ways, Mr. Trump’s final hours as president had been a bookend to the kickoff of his presidential campaign in June 2015. As he did then, he tossed apart ready remarks that aides had helped draft and spoke off the cuff, having them take down teleprompters they’d arrange. As he did then, he spent hours centered on the visible facets of the scene the place he would communicate on the finish of a calamitous remaining three months that capped a tumultuous time period.
Earlier than departing for Florida, Mr. Trump — defeated at the polls, twice impeached, silenced by social media platforms and going through an array of authorized and monetary issues — laid down a marker about his future, telling the roughly 300 supporters who greeted him on the windy tarmac, a number of holding American flags, that they’d not seen the final of him.
“Goodbye, we love you, we will likely be again in some kind,” Mr. Trump vowed, with the primary woman, Melania Trump, by his facet in sun shades and a black outfit. He has but to say what that kind will take, however individuals who know him mentioned he remained bitter that congressional Republicans had joined in rebuke of his speech at a Jan. 6 rally that incited his supporters to storm the Capitol.
Mr. Pence and the 2 Republican leaders in Congress skipped Mr. Trump’s departure and later attended Mr. Biden’s inaugural. Mr. Trump didn’t point out Mr. Biden, however for the primary time he wished “nice luck and nice success”to the incoming administration. (A draft of Mr. Trump’s ready remarks had included an area suggesting he acknowledge Mr. Biden, however had been bracketed in case he didn’t, based on an individual who noticed them.)
He did discover time to notice his personal vote whole.
And he tried to say credit score for what he instructed could be a string of sturdy financial information within the coming months. “Keep in mind us if you see this stuff taking place, should you would,” he mentioned.
He equally sought to advertise his file in serving to speed up growth of vaccines for the coronavirus. “It actually is a good achievement,” he mentioned.
At totally different factors, Mr. Trump appeared as near turning into emotional as he had all through his 4 years in workplace. He talked in regards to the households who had suffered from the coronavirus all through the final 12 months.
It was the primary time in two weeks that Mr. Trump had addressed the general public in particular person. He stayed largely out of sight since election night time, save for the incendiary speech he delivered to supporters on Jan. 6 urging them to march on the Capitol in an effort to disclaim Mr. Biden’s victory.
His remarks had been riddled with falsehoods and factual errors, boasts about his time in workplace and calls for for credit score, together with his oft-repeated however exaggerated declare that he had rescued veterans from poor remedy.
He supplied a much less acid model of his model of partisanship, save for just a few moments. “I hope they don’t elevate your taxes,” he mentioned, “but when they do, I instructed you so.”
He praised his household and mentioned folks didn’t perceive “how onerous” they labored.
Earlier than the solar rose, officers had constructed a stage adorned with stars-and-stripes bunting, a lectern and a microphone for the president. A navy band rehearsed “Hail to the Chief” shortly after 7 a.m.
For a number of minutes, navy aides measured the exact size of the pink carpet that Mr. Trump was set to stroll to the steps connecting to Air Power One, which was introduced out round 6:30. Aides hoisted garment luggage stuffed with the primary household’s belongings into the ahead cabin.
A big house was constructed for an viewers that the White Home had invited to see the president off. However for a person obsessive about crowd dimension, solely about 300 folks confirmed up, filling roughly a 3rd of the standing space.
For a number of days, aides had tried to corral officers to come back to the departure, and to deliver visitors. However a number of who remained working till the president’s remaining day in workplace mentioned they had been worn out and deeply offended over his conduct since Election Day, as he unfold falsehoods in regards to the race being stolen from him, overshadowing no matter substantive achievements they could bear in mind. A few of his aides who had been with him the longest mentioned they didn’t even watch the send-off on tv.
Others needed to keep away from Washington in its present quasi-militarized state. And nonetheless others left town earlier than the brand new administration got here in, returning to their residence states.
Mr. Trump, who typically considered successful however by no means really contemplated the presidency before Nov. 8, 2016, started the morning telling advisers he needed so as to add one final pardon to the lengthy list of clemency grants he had issued early Wednesday morning. This one was for Albert J. Pirro Jr., the previous husband of an previous pal, Jeanine Pirro, a Fox Information host.
To the shock of a few of his personal aides, he left a notice for Mr. Biden within the Oval Workplace, though its contents remained undisclosed. Mr. Trump left the White Home for a remaining time round 8:20 a.m., stopping briefly to speak to reporters earlier than stepping onto Marine One. He described the presidency because the “honor” of his life.
Then he and the primary woman boarded the helicopter, taking their final trip as the remainder of the Trump household met them on the send-off. The helicopter diverted from its regular route and circled across the Capitol, the place two weeks earlier his supporters had chanted about hanging Mr. Pence, vowed to assist Mr. Trump stay in workplace and set off chaos and violence that led to his second impeachment.
When he arrived on the air base, a navy band performed “Hail to the Chief” and he was given a 21-gun salute, lending his farewell the militaristic patina he craved all through his presidency. However through the occasion, his typical rally soundtrack performed. When he completed his remarks, he stepped off the stage to the Village Folks’s “Y.M.C.A.” earlier than heading to the pink carpet resulting in Air Power One.
The airplane then crept alongside the runway to “My Method,” a cinematic departure for a president who as soon as needed to be a Hollywood producer. On the flight, Mr. Trump stayed cloistered on the entrance of the airplane together with his household, who, like him, have by no means skilled the impact of a political loss.
When the airplane touched down in Palm Seaside, Fla., a crowd of about 20 supporters greeted the president. He waved, however didn’t cease to speak to anybody earlier than climbing into an S.U.V.
The route from the airport to his personal membership, Mar-a-Lago, was lined with folks waving flags, some weeping as he handed. Round 11:30 a.m., Mr. Trump was whisked contained in the gates of the Mar-a-Lago compound, forsaking the press corps that was assigned to cowl him for 4 years. Mr. Pirro’s pardon was introduced round that point.
Mr. Trump had one other half-hour left of his presidency, however he had mentioned all he was going to say.
Patricia Mazzei contributed reporting from Palm Seaside, Fla.