Trump leaves White House for the last time as US president

After months of power struggles, an unsuccessful presidential campaign, a defeat in his reelection bid and backstage lobbying, US President Donald Trump has found himself at the gates of the White House. For the last time as president, he stepped out of the White House and boarded Marine One on Wednesday morning, leaving behind a legacy of chaos and turmoil and a bitterly divided nation.

“It was a great honor, the honor of a lifetime,” he said before heading to Joint Base Andrews in suburban Maryland, where he will receive a military farewell. A red carpet has been placed on the tarmac for Trump to walk as he boards the plane. Four US Army guns are set up for a 21-round salvo. Trump then flies to Florida, where he will stay in Mar-a-Lago.

He made brief farewell remarks at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before boarding Air Force One for a flight to his home in Florida. Trump did not mention President-elect Joe Biden by name during his remarks Wednesday. Trump said by applauding and chanting supporters that he would watch and listen from a distance. He vowed he would return “in one form or another” and wished the crowd a “good life” before he and his wife boarded the plane.

Four years after taking the stage during his inauguration and painting a disastrous picture of “American carnage,” Trump leaves office twice impeached, with millions more out of work and 400,000 dead from the coronavirus. Republicans under his leadership lost the presidency and both houses of Congress. He will be remembered forever for the last major act of his presidency: inciting an insurgency on Capitol Hill that left five dead, including a Capitol police officer, and horrified the nation.

Trump left Washington just hours before Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. He is the first president in modern history to boycott his successor’s nomination as he continues to mull over his loss and privately maintains that the election Biden rightly won was stolen from him. Republican officials from several critical states, members of his own administration, and a wide range of judges, including those appointed by Trump, have dismissed these arguments.

Guests have been invited, but it’s unclear how many will be in attendance. Even Vice President Mike Pence plans to skip the event, citing the logistical challenges of getting from the air base to the dedication ceremonies. Washington has been transformed into a stronghold of security, with thousands of National Guard troops, fences and checkpoints in an attempt to avoid further violence.

Aides had urged Trump to spend his last days in power trying to save his legacy by highlighting his administration’s accomplishments – passing tax cuts, cutting federal regulations and normalizing relations in the Middle East. But Trump largely refused, making just one trip to the Texas border and posting a video in which he promised his supporters that “the movement we have launched is only just beginning.”

Trump will retire to Florida with a small group of former White House aides as he charts a political future that looks very different now than it did just two weeks ago.

Before the Capitol Riot, Trump was to remain the de facto leader of his party, wielding tremendous power as he served as kingmaker and pondered a 2024 presidential bid. But now he seems more powerless than ever – rejected by so many in his party, twice indicted, denied the Twitter megaphone he intended to use as a weapon, and even faced the prospect that, if convicted during his trial in the Senate, he could be barred from running for a second term.

For now, Trump remains angry and embarrassed, consumed with rage and grievance. He spent the week after the election sinking deeper and deeper into a world of conspiracy, and those who spoke to him say he still believes he won in November. He continues to lash out at Republicans for perceived disloyalty and has threatened, both publicly and privately, to spend the next few years supporting major challenges against those he says betrayed him.

Some expect him to end up turning completely against the Republican Party, perhaps flirting with a candidacy as a third-party candidate as an act of revenge.

Despite all the chaos and drama and bending the world to his will, Trump ended his tenure the way he started: largely alone. The Republican Party he co-opted finally seemed to have had enough after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, looking for lawmakers who refused to join Trump’s unconstitutional efforts to overturn the results of ‘a democratic election.

Earlier Wednesday, he pardoned former chief strategist Steve Bannon as part of a wave of pardons in the final hours of his White House tenure that benefited more than 140 people, including artists from rap, former members of Congress and other allies of him and his family. .

The last-minute leniency, announced Wednesday morning, follows separate waves of pardons over the past month for Trump associates convicted in the FBI’s Russia investigation as well as for his son-in-law’s father. Taken together, the actions underscore the president’s desire, throughout his four years in the White House, to relax his constitutional powers in a way that defies convention and explicitly helps his friends and supporters.

While recipients of pardon are traditionally viewed as defendants who have faced justice, often having served at least one prison sentence, Bannon’s pardon overturns a lawsuit that was still in its infancy and likely to be months of the trial in Manhattan, effectively eliminating any prospect of punishment.

While other presidents have bestowed controversial pardons at the end of their administration, perhaps no Commander-in-Chief has valued the use of pardoning authority so much for the benefit of not only friends and acquaintances, but also famous defendants and those defended by allies.

Besides Bannon, other Trump family allies to seek pardons were Elliott Broidy, a Republican fundraiser who pleaded guilty last fall in a ploy to pressure the White House to drop an investigation into the looting. from a Malaysian wealth fund, and Ken Kurson, a friend of Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, was charged last October with cyberstalking during a heated divorce.

“Steve Bannon gets Trump’s forgiveness after defrauding Trump’s own supporters by making them pay for a wall Trump promised Mexico would pay for,” Democratic Representative Adam Schiff said on Twitter. “And if this all sounds crazy, that’s because it is. Thank goodness we only have 12 more hours in this den of thieves.

Bannon has been accused of fooling thousands of investors who thought their money would be used to fulfill Trump’s main campaign pledge to build a wall along the southern border. Instead, he allegedly embezzled over a million dollars, paying a campaign manager a salary and personal expenses for himself.

Trump has already pardoned scores of longtime associates and supporters, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort; Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law; his friend and longtime advisor Roger Stone; and his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

A voice of nationalist and foreign conservatism, Bannon – who served in the Navy and worked at Goldman Sachs and as a Hollywood producer before turning to politics – led conservative Breitbart News before being appointed chief executive of the Trump’s 2016 campaign in its critical final months. He then served as the President’s chief strategist during the turbulent early days of the Trump administration and was at the forefront of many of his most controversial policies, including his travel ban to several Muslim-majority countries. .

But Bannon, who clashed with other high-profile advisers, was kicked out after less than a year. And his break with Trump deepened after he was quoted in a 2018 book making critical remarks about some of Trump’s grown children. Bannon apologized and quickly stepped down as chairman of Breitbart. He and Trump recently reconciled.

In August, he was taken off a luxury yacht off the coast of Connecticut and brought before a Manhattan judge, where he pleaded not guilty. As he stepped out of the courthouse, Bannon ripped off his mask, smiled and waved to press cameras. As he walked towards a waiting vehicle, he shouted, “This whole fiasco is to stop the people who want to build the wall.

The organizers of the “We Build The Wall” group have presented themselves as eager to help the president build a “great beautiful” barrier along the US-Mexico border, as he had promised during the 2016 campaign. They raised over $ 25 million from thousands of donors and pledged that 100% of the money was used for the project.

But according to criminal charges, much of the money never reached the wall. Instead, it was used to line the pockets of band members, including Bannon.

Kevin E. Boling