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Trump leaves White House after tumultuous four years in office

Trump leaves White House after tumultuous four years in office
January 20, 2021

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican President Donald Trump left the White House on Wednesday after a tumultuous four years in office, hours before Democrat Joe Biden assumes the helm of a country beset by deep political divides and battered by a raging coronavirus pandemic.

Trump left the White House with his wife Melania just after 8 a.m. (1300 GMT) and went by helicopter to a sendoff event at Joint Air Force Base Andrews, where he promised supporters “we’ll be back in some form” and extolled his administration’s successes before flying off to Florida.

Top Republicans, including Vice President Mike Pence, were not there to see him go. Shortly after Trump finished his remarks, Biden left the presidential guest house in Washington on his way to church, where he was joined by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and House of Representatives Republican leader Kevin McCarthy.

In his final remarks as president on Wednesday, Trump listed his successes, including the “medical miracle” that yielded a coronavirus vaccine in less than a year, and said serving as president was his “greatest honor.” He did not mention Biden by name.

“Have a good life - we will see you soon,” Trump said before boarding Air Force One to head to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.

He issued more than 140 pardons and commutations in his final hours in office, including a pardon for his former political adviser, Steve Bannon, who has pleaded not guilty to charges that he swindled Trump supporters as part of an effort to raise private funds for a Mexico border wall.

But Trump did not issue preemptive pardons for himself or members of his family, after speculation that he might do so.