US President Donald Trump greets as he steps aboard Air Force One at Valley International Airport on January 12, 2021 in Harlingen, Texas to board the U.S.-Mexico border wall.
Carlos Barria | Reuters
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump is expected to leave the White House for West Palm Beach, Florida hours before his successor, President-elect Joe Biden, takes office, two people familiar with the arrangements told NBC News.
People said Trump could make final remarks as commander in chief during a farewell ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, where Air Force One and its twin bait are being held. From Andrews, Trump flies Air Force One for the last time to Mar-a-Lago, his private resort.
The White House declined to comment.
Last week, Trump announced that he would not be attending the inauguration, which Biden says is "one of the few things he and I have ever agreed on."
Trump isn't the first outgoing president to skip his successor's inauguration. The others, according to the White House Historical Association, were Presidents John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew Johnson. Like Trump, Johnson was also charged.
Trump's refusal to accept the election results culminated on Jan. 6 when swarms of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol and derailed the Congressional process to count the votes and confirm Biden's win in the November 3 contest.
The House of Representatives indicted Trump on Wednesday for inciting a rebellion in a non-partisan vote that was attended by 10 Republicans. It is unclear when the Senate trial will take place.
Trump is the only president in US history to be charged twice.
He was first charged in December 2019 for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in connection with his efforts to press the Ukrainian government to investigate the Biden family. Trump was later acquitted by the Senate.
Biden's victory was projected by all major news outlets in mid-November and confirmed by votes from the electoral college in mid-December. The Republican president has falsely insisted that he won a "landslide" and that his presidency was stolen.
President Donald Trump listens to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto speaking on the phone as he announces that the United States has reached an agreement with Mexico on a new trade agreement in the Oval Office of the White House on Monday, August 27, 2018 hit.
The Washington Post | The Washington Post | Getty Images
Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence are expected to attend Biden's inauguration.
The Obamas, Clintons and former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush will attend the inauguration.
Former President Jimmy Carter will not be present due to Covid and health issues, according to a spokesman. Carter, the oldest living president at 96, and former first lady Rosalyn Carter attended the inaugurations of Obama and Trump.
Trump's decision not to attend Biden's inauguration came a day after he finally conceded the presidential election. Without naming Biden, he admitted in a nearly three-minute video that "a new government will be inaugurated on January 20th."
"My focus is now on ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transfer of power," said the president in his first video statement after the uprising.
"Now the minds have to be cooled and calm restored. We have to get on with business in America," said Trump of the deadly uprising in the US Capitol.
Five people died in the violence, including a Capitol policeman.
The National Guard has moved 20,000 soldiers to DC to secure the US Capitol and the inauguration of Biden after last week's violence.
The troops' footprint in the country's capital is greater than the number of US soldiers in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan combined.