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Trump wants to depart Washington on Inauguration Day while still officially president

Leaving while he is still president will allow Trump to use the presidential plane and use the call sign "Air Force One."

Updated: January 19, 2021 - 10:07am

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President Trump plans to depart Washington, D.C., hours before President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday takes the oath of office — and he purportedly wants a presidential-style send-off.

The White House on Sunday sent guidance to reporters seeking to cover his departure. Usually, outgoing presidents attend their successor's inauguration, then helicopter from the lawn of the Capitol to Andrews Air Force Base and board the presidential plane (which is not then called "Air Force One" because that call sign is only when a current president is on board.)

The guidance says Trump will land at 11 a.m. on Wednesday at the Palm Beach International Airport. That means Trump needs to depart D.C. at about 8 a.m. Once in Florida, he will likely head to his Mar-a-Lago resort.

"Trump told people he did not like the idea of departing Washington for a final time as an ex-president, flying aboard an airplane no longer known as Air Force One," CNN reported. "He also did not particularly like the thought of requesting the use of the plane from Biden, according to a person familiar with the matter."

Trump also reportedly has some big plans for his farewell festivities. 

"Trump has expressed interest to some in a military-style send-off and a crowd of supporters, according to a person with whom he has discussed the matter," CNN reported. "Whether that occurs at the White House, Joint Base Andrews or his final destination — Palm Beach International Airport — wasn't clear. Trump is expected to be ensconced in his Mar-a-Lago club or his nearby golf course by noon on Inauguration Day, when his term officially ends."

According to The New York Post, guests have been invited to arrive at Andrews in Maryland by 7:15 a.m. Several hundred supporters and former staffers will bid him farewell as he leaves for the last time as president.

According to Bloomberg News, which first reported the ceremony, invitees have been told they can invite up to five guests and will be expected to wear masks the entire time.

Biden is set to be sworn in outside the U.S. Capitol at 12 noon in a scaled-back ceremony. 

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