President Donald Trump on Jan. 20 left Washington for Florida, hours before President Joe Biden was sworn in.
“It’s been a great honor. The honor of a lifetime. The greatest people in the world, the greatest home in the world. We’ve had an amazing four years. We’ve accomplished a lot. We love the American people, and, again, it’s been something very special,” Trump told reporters outside the White House.
“I just want to say goodbye, but hopefully it’s not a long-term goodbye. We'll see each other again.”
Trump and First Lady Melania Trump exited the White House at approximately 8 a.m. They were headed to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach.
During a stop at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, where Trump transferred from Marine One to Air Force One, the president told a crowd of supporters: “We love you. We will be back in some form.
“I will always fight for you. I will always be watching. I will be listening.”
Trump was the first sitting president since Andrew Johnson to skip all inaugural ceremonies of his successor, according to the White House Historical Association. President Woodrow Wilson skipped the public ceremony for his successor but did accompany the successor, Warren Harding, to the Capitol.
Biden’s pared-down inauguration featured few guests. Organizers say the small event was due to the pandemic.
Trump said in Washington and in Maryland that serving as president was the “honor of a lifetime.”
He mentioned some of his administration’s achievements, including creating the Space Force, a new branch of the U.S. military, bringing unemployment to lows not seen in decades prior to the pandemic, and pouring money into the military. He also noted that several COVID-19 vaccines were developed in less than a year, thanks to support and funding from his administration.
Trump thanked supporters, his family, friends, and staff. In Maryland, he told the crowd: “People have no idea how hard this family worked, and they worked for you. They could have had a much easier life.”
“Have a good life. We will see you soon,” he said, walking off the stage.