Inauguration Day 2021: Trump welcomed as he arrives at Mar-a-Lago after vowing ‘we’ll be back’ in goodbye

DONALD Trump was welcomed by crowds of his supporters after he ditched Joe Biden's inauguration to start a new life at his estate in Florida.

The former President jetted out from Washington DC after having a a farewell ceremony at Joint Base Andrews before heading off to Mar-a-Lago.

Read our Inauguration Day 2021 live blog for the very latest news and updates on Joe Biden's swearing-in and Donald Trump's exit…

Trump was seen giving a thumbs up from the back of car as he was greeted by flag-waving and cheering supporters in the Sunshine State.

Fans carried placards reading Trump is "still my President" and "Trump won" as he begins anew after life at the White House.

And meanwhile, some 900 miles away President Joe Biden was being sworn in as he called for an end to the "uncivil war" blighting the US.

The outgoing president had opted to be the first in more than one hundred years to dodge his successor's inauguration – with traditional duties being handled by Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump and Melania left the White House at around 8am – stopping briefly to speak to reporters before boarding Marine One.

The helicopter then flew them to Joint Base Andrews where they were met by a crowd of around 500 fans.

Hail to the Chief was played by an Air Force band and army field artillery fired off a 21 gun salute as Trump and Melania took to the podium.

Trump leaves the White House as:

  • Joe Biden called for an end to the "uncivil war" as he was sworn in
  • It was confirmed Trump followed tradition and left a letter for Biden
  • Surgeon General Jerome Adams confirmed Biden's team asked him to step down
  • Trump pardoned Lil Wayne, Kodak Black and 140 more – but snubbed Joe Exotic
  • A-listers and celebs such as Lady Gaga and J-Lo attended the inauguration – reportedly angering Trump –
  • Fears continue to loom over security as thousands of National Guard flooded Washington DC following the Capitol Riot

Trump said it had been an "incredible four years" and insisted "we'll be back".

He was met by chants of "USA, USA" and "thank you Trump" as attendees to his farewell rally waved the Stars and Stripes.

"I will always fight for you, I will be watching, I will be listening. The future of this country has never been better," Trump said in the ten minutes speech.

He added: "We have the greatest country in the world. It was my greatest honor and privilege to be your President."

Trump wished the incoming administration a "great success" – and also once again branded Covid the "China virus".

"It’s a horrible thing that was put onto the world. We all know where it came from," Trump said.

Trump concluded as he said "have a good life, we'll see you soon".

He then left the stage with his campaign theme song Village People's YMCA playing over the loud speakers.

And then Air Force One taxied down the runway as Frank Sinatra's song My Way blasted over the speakers as the Trumps bid goodbye to DC.

Melania, wearing all black, also briefly spoke at the event at Joint Base Andrews.

She said: "Being first lady was my greatest honor. Thank you for your support.

"You will be my thoughts and prayers, god bless you all, god bless the family and god bless this beautiful nation."

Trump's refusal to greet his successor and attend the inauguration represents a break with more than a century and a half of political tradition.

However, it was confirmed Trump has followed at least one presidential tradition as he left a letter for Biden.

Trump spokesman Judd Deere declined to say what Trump wrote or characterize the sentiment in the note, citing privacy for communication between presidents.

Washington DC remains on lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic and the violence which erupted weeks ago at the Capitol.

Marine One circled the area before heading off to the base, providing the Trumps a very different view than they had four years ago.

Biden's inauguration was muted as he called for healing and unity as the US continues to suffers bitter divisions.

It comes following months of tension which culminated in the riot on Capitol Hill, as Trump accused the Democrats – without evidence – of stealing the election.

Trump is expected to remain a powerful figure in the Republican party as he holds sway over a huge portion of their support base.

He also may be dragged back to Washington DC as he was impeached for a second time after he was accused of inciting the riot at the Capitol.

Some ten Republicans voted to impeach him, the most ever to cross a party line on such a vote.

After losing control of the House, the Senate and the White House, the Republicans are facing the task of rebuilding going into the 2022 mid-terms and the 2024 election.

It is likely there will be a split between the more traditional groups and pro-Trump loyalists, with the former reality TV star and his family's future in the party likely to be determined in the coming months.

At least 17 Republicans senators would have to turn against Trump to convict him in an impeachment trial, and its been suggested as many as 20 are open to the idea.

As Trump left with his fanfare, Biden gave his inaugural speech as he urged the US to "come together" as he was sworn in.

The new president said "my whole soul is in this, bringing America together" as he delivered his inaugural address to a reduced crowd at the Capitol.

“Few people in our nation’s history have been more challenged, or found a time more difficult, than the time we’re in now," Biden said.

“A once-in-a-century virus silently stalks the country. 

"A cry for racial justice some 400 years in the making moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer.

"A cry for survival comes from the planet itself. A cry that couldn't be any more desperate or any more clear.

"And now, the rise of political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat.

"To overcome these challenges requires so much more than words. It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: unity."

Biden arrived at the Capitol – turning up around 90 minutes before he was due to be sworn in.

The president-elect's motorcade wound its way through a mostly deserted Washington following a morning church service at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle.

Streets that would typically be lined with thousands of inaugural onlookers were ringed instead with a massive security presence to include military vehicles and armed troops.

He and Kamala then took the oath of office – officially welcoming the new adminstration.

Biden said there is "much to heal" and attempted to pull together the divisions – touching on the need to combat white supremacy, a renewed effort to tackle climate change, and a cry for social justice.

Vice President Pence ditched Trump and attended Biden's inauguration after the two fell out of the VP's decision not to try overturn the results of the election.

VIPs packed the for the inauguration – with the usual crowd replaced with thousands and thousands of flags on the National Mall.

Former presidents George W Bush, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton all attended the Biden's swearing in.

Trump departed the White House just hours after presenting his farewell speech on Tuesday night.

"This week, we inaugurate a new Administration and pray for its success in keeping America safe and prosperous," Trump said.

The president said the administration came with a "mission to make America great again".

He added: "For all Americans. As I conclude my term as the 45th president of the United States, I stand here truly proud of what we have achieved, together."

"We did what we came here to do – and so much more."

The outgoing president also addressed the riots that took over the US Capitol on January 6.

Five people died after Trump's supporters stormed the political hub, assaulting police officers and destroying property.

"All Americans were horrified by the assault on our Capitol," Trump said.

"Political violence is an attack on everything we cherish as Americans. It can never be tolerated."

Following the attack on the Capitol, security was heightened for Biden's inauguration.

National Guard chief General Daniel Hokanson said that the 25,000 troops that will be in the district were "trained and ready for anything," and he is not concerned about an insider threat.

Defense officials were vetting the National Guard troops in Washington, DC, following fears of an "inside attack at inauguration" or some other threat from service members.

On Tuesday, roughly a dozen members of the National Guard were pulled from Biden's inauguration security based on the "routine" vetting process – not because of "radical extremist concerns," NBC reported.

Officials reportedly said they were removed "based on routine background checks against criminal history database."

"Some was also based on concerns raised by fellow guard members about statements they heard," NBC reported, adding officials say it's "a matter of zero tolerance."

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