Donald Trump boarded Air Force One for a final time as U.S. president Wednesday, headed for the southern state of Florida at the close of his four-year term.
As he left the White House Wednesday morning, Trump said being president was the “honor of a lifetime.”
Instead of attending President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration as outgoing presidents have traditionally done, Trump received his own sendoff ceremony with a red carpet, military band, 21-gun salute and about 200 guests in attendance at Joint Base Andrews, outside Washington.
“We will be back in some form,” Trump told supporters in his farewell speech before boarding Air Force One at the military base.
Trump listed a number of initiatives his administration carried out, including providing improved health care for veterans and a new law that cut taxes for many Americans.
“I hope they don’t raise your taxes, but if they do, I told you so,” Trump said, referring to his successor, eliciting laughter and applause from supporters.
The outgoing president also suggested his administration laid the groundwork for an economic rebound in the months ahead. Trump wished the next administration success, although he didn’t mention Biden by name.
“You’re going to see some incredible things happen and remember us when you see these things happening, if you would remember us because I’m looking at elements of our economy that are set to be a rocket ship up, a rocket ship up,” he said.
Trump leaves office under the shadow of becoming the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice, and an unclear start date for a Senate trial on charges he incited a mob of his supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol two weeks ago.
Trump briefly referenced the assault Tuesday, saying Americans “were horrified” and that political violence “can never be tolerated.”
In some of his final acts in office, Trump issued pardons and sentence commutations for more than 140 people, including former campaign chief Steve Bannon.
Trump also rescinded an executive order from the early days of his term that banned officials in his administration from lobbying the government for five years after leaving those jobs, or from ever engaging in activities that would require the former official to register as a foreign agent. The measure was part of his pledge to “drain the swamp,” or root out corruption in Washington.
As Trump and first lady Melania Trump walked toward Air Force One a final time after hugging and shaking hands with supporters, the Village People’s hit song “YMCA” blared, with the lyrics saying in part, “Pick yourself up off the ground.”