WASHINGTON • President Donald Trump plans to leave Washington on the morning of Inauguration Day, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Mr Trump, who had already said he will not attend President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration, is planning a ceremonial farewell at Joint Base Andrews, the base outside Washington where Air Force One is headquartered, the sources said. The farewell could include a 21-gun salute, one source said.
The sources stressed that the plan could change. It was unclear whether Mr Trump would speak on Wednesday. He will then fly on to Palm Beach, Florida, to begin his post-presidency at his Mar-a-Lago club. He is likely to be in Florida by the time Mr Biden is inaugurated at midday on Wednesday.
Mr Trump will be the first president in 1½ centuries to snub his successor's inauguration.
A few current White House staff are expected to work for him or his son-in-law Jared Kushner after his presidency, the sources said. Some advisers have been urging Mr Trump to host a White House meeting for Mr Biden ahead of Inauguration Day, but there has been no sign he is willing to do that, an administration official said.
For longer than anyone can remember, outgoing presidents have stood by their replacement on the Capitol steps, watching them take the oath - and in so doing showing visible support for the peaceful transfer of power.
Mr Trump, who was impeached for a record second time in the wake of the Congress storming, also broke with more discreet protocol by refusing to invite Mr Biden and his wife Jill Biden to the Oval Office for a traditional cup of tea.
On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described the impeachment of Mr Trump as "urgent" but declined to say when the House will send the single charge for inciting insurrection to the Senate to begin his trial.
BLOOMBERG, REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE