While most of the rest of the nation and the world watched Joe Biden being sworn in as the 46th President on Wednesday, a few Trump loyalists gathered in the streets outside Mar-a-Lago to hold a dance party.
The crowd – which was mostly maskless – danced, laughed and hugged as they waited for Trump to arrive in Florida with his children. Almost all of the Trump clan has now made Florida their home.
In his final hours as President on Tuesday and Wednesday, Trump pardoned dozens of celebrities, donors and millionaires from future prosecution.
He gave a final speech at Joint Base Andrews before boarding Air Force One, where he promised to be back ‘in some form’ before trying to take credit for the Biden’s administration’s future success.
Trump vowed ‘we will be back – in some form’ as he left Washington D.C. for the last time Wednesday, flying off on Air Force One to Mar-a-Lago to snub Joe Biden – then claiming credit in advance for the new administration’s success.
‘Have a good life,’ he told a crowd of a few hundred supporters at Joint Base Andrews, after listing his ‘achievements’ in a speech which began after a 21-gun salute.
In the front row, Ivanka Trump cried, while behind the maskless crowd chanted ‘thank you Trump,’ before the first family climbed the stairs to Air Force One for the final time.
Outgoing US President Donald Trump waves to supporters lined along on the route to his Mar-a-Lago estate on January 20, 2021 in West Palm Beach, Florida
Supporters of President Donald Trump, Jennifer Aiello, left, Ron Raven dance as they wait for the motorcade on the road to Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Palm Beach estate, on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021
Heidi Forte, middle, with other supporters of President Donald Trump wait for the motorcade on the road to Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Palm Beach estate, on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021
Supporters of President Donald Trump wave as they wait for the motorcade on the road to Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Palm Beach estate, on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021
A supporter of President Donald Trump waits for the motorcade on the road to Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Palm Beach estate, on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in West Palm Beach
Supporters of President Donald Trump cheer for the president in his final moments as POTUS. Supporters gathered along the path to Trump’s Mar a Lago club on Palm Beach
A supporter of outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump walks with a flag, in West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., January 20, 2021
The military ceremony had the atmosphere of a Trump rally: Gloria was played as Air Force One taxied, and then the YMCA as Trump hugged and kissed his children and finally My Way as the plan rose into the air.
‘We love you. We will be back in some form,’ he told the crowd of cheering supporters before signing off: ‘Have a good life, we will see you soon.’
The farewell resembled one of Trump’s infamous campaign rallies, ending with ‘YMCA’ – the song Trump would depart to – as supporters cheered ‘USA, USA, USA.’
My Way, which Trump and Melania danced to at his 2017 inaugural ball, played as Air Force One took off.
The president paused at times in his remarks. While he did not show tears, he appeared to feel the weight of the occasion while taking time to enjoy the final moments of his time in office.
He notably did not mention the name of incoming President Joe Biden.
Trump gives his farewell speech at Andrews Air Force Base in the last hours of his Presidency. He said it had been an ‘honor and a privilege’
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base
Melania Trump and Donald Trump wave to their supporters as they board Air Force One for the last time on Wednesday
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump greet the crowd before boarding Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021
‘Hail to Chief’ played as Trump and Melania – who was wearing a Chanel jacket, sunglasses and carrying a $70,000 black crocodile Hermes Birkin bag – walked from Marine One to the platform where the president addressed the crowd.
‘We love you,’ the supporters yelled as Trump took the stage after arriving while his children watched proudly.
‘We accomplished a lot,’ Trump said. ‘We worked hard. We left it all – as the athletes would say – we left it in the field.’
He left behind a last-minute flurry of pardons, including to Steve Bannon, the indicted one-time White House Svengali, Trump-backing rapper Lil’ Wayne and a convicted stalker friend of his son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Also left on the field was a shattered Republican Party, whose top ranks are torn apart by his second impeachment. In the dying days of his presidency, Trump floated starting his own ‘Patriot Party’ from his Mar-a-Lago home.
He told his supporters, who he hopes to harness as a power force in future elections, that he will be there for them.
‘I will always fight for you. I will be watching, I will be listening and I will tell you the future of the country has never been better. I wish the new administration great luck and great success. They have the foundation to do something really spectacular and in a position like it has never been,’ he said.
He has reportedly discussed forming another party, known as the Patriot Party, to continue his political career.
Melania Trump, wearing black, briefly addressed the crowd. She wore a Chanel, military-style jacket and had her hair pinned up for her final appearance as first lady.
Read Donald Trump’s full farewell speech at Andrews Air Force Base
DONALD TRUMP: Thank you, thank you very much. Thank you very much, and we love you and I can tell you that from the bottom of my heart.
This has been an incredible four years, we’ve accomplished so much together. I want to thank all of my family and my friends and my staff and so many other people for being here. I want to thank you for your effort, your hard work. People have no idea how hard this family worked, and they worked for you. They could have had a much easier life. But they just – they did a fantastic job. I just want to thank all of you – every one. I want to thank Mark Meadows who’s here someplace, right there, I want to thank Mark. But it’s been something very special.
We’ve accomplished a lot. Our first lady has been a woman of great grace and beauty and dignity. And so popular with the people, so popular with the people. In fact, honey, would you like to say a few words, please?
FIRST LADY MELANIA TRUMP: Being first lady was my greatest honor. Thank you for your love and your support. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you all, God bless the family and God bless this beautiful nation. Thank you.
DONALD TRUMP: What else has to be said, right? But what we’ve done – iit’s true, honey, great job – what we’ve done has been amazing by any standard. We rebuilt the United States military. We created a new force called Space Force – that in itself would be a major achievement for a regular administration. We were not a regular administration. We took care of the vets, 91 per cent approval rating, they’ve never had that before. The vets have given us – the VA – the vets have given us an approval rating like has never been before. We took care of our vets, and our beautiful vets, they were very badly treated before we came along. And, as you know, we get them great service and we pick up the bill and they could go out and see a doctor if they have to wait long period of time. We got it so that we can, sadly, get rid of people that don’t treat our vets properly. We didn’t have any of those rights before when I came on. So our vets are happy, our people are happy, our military is thrilled.
We also got tax cuts, the largest tax cut and reform in the history of our country, by far. I hope they don’t raise your taxes. But, if they do, I told you so.
And if you look at the regulations, which I consider the regulation cuts to be maybe even more important, that’s why we have such good and have had such good job numbers. The job numbers have been absolutely incredible. When we started, had we not been hit by the pandemic, we would have had numbers that would have never been seen – already, our numbers are the best ever. If you look at what happened until February a year ago. Our numbers were at a level nobody had seen before. And even now, we really built it twice. We got hit, nobody blames us for us, the whole world got hit and then we built it again. And now the stock market is actually substantially higher than it was at its higher point prior to the pandemic. So it’s really, you can say we built it twice.
You’re going to see incredible numbers start coming in if everything is sort of left alone. Be careful, very complex, be careful. But you’re going to see some incredible things happening 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 rocketship up– it’s a rocketship up.
We have the greatest country in the world, we have the greatest economy in the world. And as bad as the pandemic was, we were hit so hard, just like the entire world was hit so hard, places that thought they got away with it, didn’t get away with it – they’re suffering right now. We did something that is really considered a medical miracle, they are calling it a miracle, and that was the vaccine. We got the vaccine developed in nine months instead of nine years or five years or 10 years or a long time. It was supposed to take a long time, many, many years to develop a vaccine. We have two out, we have another one coming almost immediately. And it really is a great achievement. So you should start to see really good numbers over the next few months. I think you’re going to see those numbers really skyrocket downward.
I can only say this: we have worked hard. We’ve left it all – as the athletes would say – ‘we’ve left it in the field.’ We don’t have to come and say – we’ll never say in a month when we’re sitting in Florida, we’re not going to be looking at each other and saying, ‘You know if we only worked a little but harder.’ You can’t work harder. And we had a lot of obstacles, and we went through the obstacles. And we just got 75 million votes and that’s a record in the history of sitting presidents. It’s an all-time record by a lot – by many millions in the history of sitting president, it’s been, really, just an honor.
One of the things we’re very, very proud of is the selection of almost 300 federal judges and three great Supreme Court justices. That’s a very big number, that’s a record setting number. And so, we’ve done a lot, and there’s still things to do.
The first thing we have to do is pay our respects and our love to the incredible people and families who suffered so gravely from the China virus. It’s a horrible thing that was put onto the world. We all know where it came from, but it is a horrible, horrible thing. So be very careful, be very, very careful. But, we want to pay great love, great love to all the people that are suffering – including families who have suffered so gravely.
So with that I just want to say you are amazing people, this is a great, great country. It is my greatest honor and privilege to have been your president.
I will always fight for you. I will be watching, I will be listening and I will tell you that the future of this country has never been better. I wish the new administration great luck and great success. I think they’ll have great success. They have the foundation to do something really spectacular. And again, we put it in a position like it’s never been before despite the worst plague to hit since, I guess you would say 1917, over 100 years ago. And despite that – despite that, the things that we’ve done have been just incredible. And I couldn’t have done it without you.
So just a goodbye, we love you, we will be back in some form.
And again, I want to just, in leaving, thank our Vice President Mike pence and Karen. I want to thank Congress because we really worked well with Congress – at least certain elements of Congress. But we really did, we’ve gotten so much done that nobody thought would be possible – but I do want to thank Congress. And I want to thank all of the great people of Washington, D.C., all of the people that we worked with to put this miracle together.
So, have a good life, we will see you soon. Thank you, thank you very much.