The presidential helicopter has landed at the military air field now where Donald Trump plans a brief speech and farewell event.
The famous green helicopter is taxiing on the strip now. We see family members, including Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner and their children, and his adult sons Donald Jr and Eric, waiting in the gusty cold conditions for the outgoing president.
As Donald Trump is in the air in Marine One, Senate Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell and House Republican minority leader Kevin McCarthy are going to church with Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and their families.
Trump’s own event will be devoid of those senior Republicans, and his vice-president, Mike Pence. It leads to the dramatic split screen vision of Trump leaving the White House for the last time, talking to a small cluster of press outside the door, while “the Beast”, the fortified presidential vehicle is outside Blair House ready to take Joe and Jill Biden to the church service.
Normally, the outgoing president and his successor would ride in “the Beast” together to the US Capitol for the inauguration, but as we have heard so much about, Trump is the first president for more than 150 years not to fulfill his obligation to pass the torch seamlessly and respect the incoming president personally by attending the swearing in.
Marine One has not flown directly towards nearby Joint Base Andrews. The green presidential helicopter is circling over downtown Washington, flying past the Washington Monument after taking a spin around the US Capitol.
This is typically what the outgoing president and first lady do after their successors have been sworn in.
From their low-altitude flight path, the Trumps would have been able to see the US Capitol heavily guarded by up to 25,000 National Guard troops, two weeks after the Congressional seat was sacked by fanatical supporters egged on by the president at a rally prior, as they tried to overturn the result of the election by force.
Donald Trump has left the White House for the last time as president. He is being flown in Marine One to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland where he will be holding a “sending off” ceremony which was due to start at 8am ET/1pm GMT.
He briefly spoke to reporters as he departed, saying he had accomplished a lot in office and that he and his wife Melania loved the American people.
After the ceremony at the military base he will then fly to Florida to his Mar-a-Lago resort. He will not be attending Joe Biden’s inauguration.