Outgoing United States President Donald Trump is now planning to exit Washington on the morning of President-elect Joe Biden's oath-taking next Wednesday to start his post-presidential life in Florida, Reuters reported on Saturday, citing sources with knowledge of the matter.
Refusing to conform with tradition and participate in the ceremonial handover of power, Trump will instead conduct his own departure rites at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before he hops on board Air Force One for his final flight.
Biden is set to be inaugurated on the steps of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in the face of ramped-up security prompted by the January 6 siege on the building by pro-Trump loyalists.
Trump said on January 8 that he would not participate in the inauguration, making him the first departing president to refuse to attend his successor's oath-taking since 1869.
According to sources close to Trump, he will fly to Mar-a-Lago the morning of Biden's ceremony. The sources requested anonymity because Trump might change his mind.
Trump's send-off could include a red carpet, military band, and even a 21-gun salute, sources said.
Some White House aides plan to work for Trump in Palm Beach as the former real estate mogul works on keeping his influence in the Republican Party.
Trump has not invited the Bidens to the White House for the traditional breaking of bread, nor has he spoken with Biden by telephone. Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Thursday to congratulate her.
Some advisers have been urging Trump to host Biden for a meeting in the White House ahead of his oath-taking, but there has been no indication the outgoing commander in chief is interested in doing that, an administration official said.
Trump has not officially confirmed where he is headed when he leaves the White House on Inauguration Day. At one point, he was said to fly to Scotland, where he owns a golf course. However, Scotland's government clarified he would not be welcome, citing its strict COVID lockdown.
Trump, the only U.S. president in history to face a double impeachment, is considering more pardons before departing, according to sources, who added Trump has been considering pardoning himself.
While the president spends his last days of presidency settled firmly in the White House, staffers are already heading out the door. Many have already left, including those who quit their post after the Capitol riot.