Trump departs White House, tells supporters in final address as president: 'We will be back in some form'
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President Trump on Wednesday morning told supporters that “we will be back in some form” after he departed the White House for the final time as president, just hours ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Biden.
Trump made the comments at Joint Base Andrews as he was about to fly to Mar-a-Lago in Florida. The presidential Salute battery fired a 21-gun salute with ceremonial artillery guns as Trump walked to the podium to speak.
“We left it all on the field,” Trump said of his time as president.
“What we’ve done has been amazing by any standard,” he said.
Trump mentioned the Space Force, tax cuts, judicial appointments, stock market record highs and more. First Lady Melania Trump also made brief remarks.
President Donald Trump listens as First Lady Melania Trump speaks before boarding Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Fox News has been told that Trump left a note for Biden in the White House. He also wished the incoming Biden administration well in his Wednesday remarks.
“I wish the new administration great luck and great success,” Trump said. “I think they’ll have great success.”
But he also warned that the Biden administration may roll back some of his policies.
“You’re gonna see incredible numbers start coming in if everything is left alone, Trump said. “Be careful.”
“I hope they don’t raise your taxes, but if they do I told you so,” Trump said.
Potentially foreshadowing more involvement in politics to come, Trump said “we will be back in some form.” There’s been speculation that Trump could run for president in 2024, or that he may start his own political party.
In this Oct. 5, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump removes his mask as he stands on the Blue Room Balcony upon returning to the White House in Washington, after leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md. Trump announced he tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 2. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
The outgoing president also lamented the coronavirus pandemic, saying that “The first thing we have to do is pay our respects and our love to the incredible people and families who suffered so gravely from the China virus. It was a horrible thing that was put into the world.”
Trump added: “We put it in a position like it’s never been before despite the worst plague to hit since, I guess you’d say 1917, over a hundred years ago.”
Trump thanked Vice President Pence, Congress and his family, saying, “people have no idea how hard this family works.” He also praised the American people.
“I just want to say you are amazing people. This is a great, great country. It is my greatest honor and privilege to have been your president,” Trump said. “I will always fight for you.”
Trump also made brief comments to reporters as he left the White House one final time on his way to Joint Base Andrews. He said that being president was the “honor of a lifetime” and “we love the American people.”
Trump will land in Florida before Biden is sworn in on Wednesday.
The reason Trump is leaving so early, Fox News is told, is so that the plane he touches down in Florida on is “Air Force One” — the name given to whatever airplane the president is flying on. If Trump waited until Biden is sworn in, the aircraft would be called “Special Air Mission 28000.”
Trump’s decision not to attend Biden’s inauguration is unprecedented in modern American history.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. Trump is en route to his Mar-a-Lago Florida Resort. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Among Trump’s accomplishments during his four years as the leader of the free world the installation of three justices on the United States Supreme Court, more than any president since Ronald Reagan.
He also successfully nominated — and the GOP-controlled Senate confirmed — 234 federal judges. That’s more in a single term than any other president in one term except for Jimmy Carter, who oversaw a massive expansion of the federal judiciary. Trump appointed 54 judges to the crucial U.C. Courts of Appeals, also more than any other president in a single term except for Carter.
Trump also oversaw a booming economy for much of his term, passed a tax cut that is still highly popular among Republicans and redefined U.S. trade policy.
Trump helmed the U.S. through an era full of change, including a burgeoning geopolitical rivalry with China. To address the threat from that country and others, Trump created a new branch of the military, the Space Force. Trump also oversaw a remarkable turnaround in the functionality of the Veterans Administration.
In the final full day of Trump’s presidency, his State Department made a historic determination that China is committing genocide against Uyghur Muslims, a direct accusation of crimes against humanity past presidents have been reluctant to make against other nations.
In the waning months of his administration, the U.S. managed to make significant progress in facilitating Middle East peace, including the signing of the historic Abraham Accords.
But for all his successes, Trump also oversaw a number of failures and controversies.
The coronavirus pandemic killed more than 400,000 in Trump’s final year in office alone, and he was often criticized for not taking the pandemic seriously enough and downplaying the seriousness of the virus.
President Donald Trump and Amy Coney Barrett stand on the Blue Room Balcony after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas administered the Constitutional Oath to her on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. Barrett and the two other Supreme Court justices Trump appointed during his four-year term are widely considered to be among his biggest accomplishments. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Trump was surrounded by a number of questionable characters. Both of Trump’s 2016 campaign chairmen, Paul Manafort and Steve Bannon, received pardons from the president in his final weeks in office. So did longtime adviser Roger Stone.
Trump also pardoned former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn after he pleaded guilty — then aimed to withdraw his plea — for allegedly lying to the FBI.
Former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to multiple crimes, including campaign finance violations involving hush-money payments to women who said they had sex with Trump.
Others in Trump’s circle who were caught in legal trouble were campaign adviser George Papadopolous and former Deputy Campaign Chairman Rick Gates.
Trump, meanwhile, spent much of his presidency fending off sexual assault accusations and investigations into his business dealings.
And a number of prominent White House staffers eventually left the administration and denounced Trump, including longtime Republican foreign policy mainstay John Bolton, who was Trump’s national security adviser for a time; former Defense Secretary James Mattis; former chief of staff John Kelly; former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson; and most recently former White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah.
In this Aug. 20, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, speaks with reporters in New York after pleading not guilty to charges that he ripped off donors to an online fundraising scheme to build a southern border wall. Bannon is one of those who received a pardon from Trump in the final hours of his presidency. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, File)
Trump’s presidency was punctuated by two months’ worth of battles over the validity of the presidential election that he lost, which eventually led to his impeachment this month. That made him the first president ever to be impeached twice by the House of Representatives.
Trump and his allies repeatedly falsely said that he won the presidential election, making claims of widespread voter fraud that were regularly debunked. Dozens of lawsuits uniformly failed in the courts. A plea by Trump to Republican Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to reverse Trump’s loss in the state was unsuccessful.
The president eventually gathered a mass of his supporters in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 before Congress was set to certify the results of Biden’s victory in the presidential election. After pitched rhetoric from Trump and his backers at the rally, a pro-Trump mob marched across the city and attacked the Capitol, forcing hundreds of lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence into hiding.
The sacking of the Capitol was the worst attack on the seat of the American government since the British burned it during the War of 1812. Trump was impeached one week later by the House of Representatives for inciting an insurrection. He will face an impeachment trial in the Senate during the first weeks of the Biden administration, which could result in him being barred from holding future office.
Protesters seen all over Capitol building where pro-Trump supporters riot and breached the Capitol. Rioters broke windows and breached the Capitol building in an attempt to overthrow the results of the 2020 election. Police used batons and tear gas grenades to eventually disperse the crowd. Rioters used metal bars and tear gas as well against the police. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
((Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images))
But nevertheless, Trump managed to transform the Republican Party in his image and garner more than 74 million votes during the 2020 presidential election — although, that was more than 7 million fewer than Biden.
The GOP now is more of a populist party than it has been in a long time, with a fervent base among White working-class voters and growing support among minorities, especially inner-city Black Americans and Latinos. Where the party has lost ground has been among more educated voters and in the suburbs.
Trump figures to remain a force in Republican politics for some time. With his loyal following making up a significant portion of the Republican base, it will be difficult for Republicans to win primaries without his endorsement or at least embracing him publicly.
In perhaps a sign of a president who will remain engaged after his term, Trump’s reelection campaign manager Bill Stepien and two other top members of his campaign set up a firm called National Public Affairs which figures to support Trump’s political engagement after he leaves office.
“Now, as I prepare to hand power over to a new administration at noon on Wednesday, I want you to know that the movement we started is only just beginning,” Trump said in his farewell message, released Tuesday. “There’s never been anything like it. The belief that a nation must serve its citizens will not dwindle but instead only grow stronger by the day.”
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser, John Roberts and Sally Parsons contributed to this report.
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