Earlier on the day, Joe Biden, 78, attended Mass at a cathedral in Washington – along with four Roman Catholic congressional leaders, both Democrats and Republicans.
Donald Trump left the White House at about 08:00AM on January 20, and flew to the nearby Andrews Air Force base.
In his farewell address at the base, Donald Trump highlighted what he regarded as the successes of his presidency.
He said: “What we’ve done has been amazing by any standard.”
Donald Trump, 74, then left for his Mar-a-Lago golf club in Florida, where he arrived later in the morning.
In his last hours as president, Donald Trump granted clemency to more than 140 people, including his former adviser Steve Bannon, who had been facing fraud charges.
The political drama surrounding Donald Trump is far from over. The Senate is expected to put him on trial soon, following his record second impeachment by the House of Representatives for allegedly inciting the Capitol riot.
On January 19, the Senate’s Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, said the mob had been provoked by Donald Trump and fed lies.
On inauguration day, President Donald Trump’s office is cleaned out, swept of signs that he and his staff had ever been there, ready for the Biden team to move in.
The cleaning out of White House’s West Wing offices, and the transition between presidents, is part of a tradition that dates back centuries. It’s a process that has not always been imbued with warmth.
Another impeached president, Andrew Johnson, a Democrat, snubbed Republican Ulysses S Grant in 1869 and skipped the inauguration. Ulysses Grant, who had backed Andrew Johnson’s removal from office, was hardly surprised.
Today, however, the transition stands out for its acrimony. The process usually starts straight after the election, but it started weeks late after President Trump refused to accept the result. And the president has said he will not attend the inauguration. Most likely, Donald Trump will instead travel to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.
Even in the best of times, the logistics of a transition are daunting, involving the transfer of knowledge and employees on a massive scale.
About 4,000 political appointees hired by the Trump administration who will lose their job and be replaced by individuals hired by Joe Biden.
During an average transition, between 150,000-300,000 people apply for these jobs, according to the Center for Presidential Transition, a nonpartisan organization based in Washington. About 1,100 of the positions also require Senate confirmation. Filling all of these positions takes months, even years.
Four years of policy papers, briefing books and artefacts relating to the president’s work will be carted off to the National Archives where they will be kept secret for 12 years, unless the president himself decides that portions may be released early.
Furniture in the White House, such as the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, most of the artwork, china and other objects, belong to the government and will remain on the premises.
Other items, like photos of the president that hang in the hallway, will be taken down as the White House is transformed for its new occupants.
The Trumps’ personal belongings, such as clothes, jewellery, and other items will be moved to their new residence, most likely at Mar-a-Lago in Florida.
This year, the place will be deep cleaned.
President Trump, as well as dozens of others at the White House, were infected with the coronavirus over the past several months, and the six-floor building, with its 132 rooms, will be thoroughly scrubbed down. Everything from handrails to elevator buttons to restroom fixtures will be wiped and sanitized, according to a spokeswoman for the General Services Administration, the federal agency that oversees the housekeeping effort.
Incoming first families usually do some redecoration. Within days of arriving at the White House, Donald Trump had chosen a portrait of populist president Andrew Jackson for the Oval Office. He also replaced the drapes, couches and a rug in the office with ones that were gold-colored. On inauguration day, VP Mike Pence and his wife will also make way for Kamala Harris, and her husband, Doug Emhoff. They will be settling into their official residence, a 19th Century residence on the Naval Observatory grounds, a couple of miles from the White House.
Joe Biden and VP-elect Kamala Harris are expected to be sworn in at a ceremony at the Capitol. The Biden team had already urged Americans to avoid travelling to the capital because of the Covid-19 pandemic, a call that is now being repeated by local authorities.
According to security officials, there will be no repeat of the breach seen on January 6, when thousands of pro-Trump supporters were able to break into the building where members of Congress were voting to certify the election result.
Five people died in the riot, which happened after President Trump repeated unsubstantiated claims of fraud in the November vote and encouraged his supporters to march on the Capitol.
Since then, calls for Donald Trump’s resignation, removal from office or impeachment have grown among Democrats and some Republicans.
President Trump has made no public statements since he was banned from several social media platforms – including Twitter – on January 8.
Donald Trump became the third president to be impeached in December 2019 over charges of breaking the law by asking Ukraine to investigate his rival in the presidential election. The Senate cleared him.
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