President Trump wants to go out in style.
Trump, who has announced he will skip Joe Biden’s inauguration as the 46th president and plans to leave Washington, D.C., Wednesday morning, is reportedly planning an unprecedented farewell event at Joint Base Andrews, an Air Force base in Maryland where Air Force One is hangared.
“Officials are considering an elaborate send-off event reminiscent of the receptions he’s received during state visits abroad, complete with a red carpet, color guard, military band and even a 21-gun salute, according to a person familiar with the planning who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement,” The Associated Press reported.
Leaving while he is still president will allow Trump to use the presidential plane and use the call sign “Air Force One” for his flight to Palm Beach, Florida. If Trump were to leave Washington after Biden was sworn in, he would have to ask Biden for permission to use the plane for his trip home.
“Trump told people he did not like the idea of departing Washington for a final time as an ex-president, flying aboard an airplane no longer known as Air Force One,” CNN reported. “He also did not particularly like the thought of requesting the use of the plane from Biden, according to a person familiar with the matter.”
“Final plans for Trump’s departure were still being laid a week ahead of time, but Trump has expressed interest to some in a military-style sendoff and a crowd of supporters, according to a person with whom he has discussed the matter,” CNN reported. “Whether that occurs at the White House, Joint Base Andrews or his final destination — Palm Beach International Airport — wasn’t clear. Trump is expected to be ensconced in his Mar-a-Lago club or his nearby golf course by noon on Inauguration Day, when his term officially ends.”
But Defense One, a military website, said the Pentagon will offer no farewell ceremony for Trump.
“The Pentagon, in a break with recent tradition, will not host an Armed Forces Farewell tribute to President Donald Trump,” Executive Editor Kevin Baron wrote in a commentary piece.
“It’s a shame, but not a surprise. Trump will leave office in disgrace, one week after the House voted a second time for his impeachment, two weeks after his supporters staged a deadly siege in the Capitol Building, six months after he dragged his Joint Chiefs chairman into a political firestorm, and after four years of nonstop assaults on truth. One of those disgraces is how he is ghosting the U.S. troops that he commanded,” Baron wrote.
The city is locked down after the violent riot that broke out at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Thousands of National Guard soldiers are in town to make sure violence doesn’t spark again.
Biden’s inaugural parade has been canceled to limit crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers announced the decision earlier this month, saying that a “virtual parade across America” will be held instead.