Donald Trump to leave Washington on morning of Biden's inauguration - report

An elaborate send-off including a red carpet, military band and 21-gun salute is being considered by officials.
An elaborate send-off including a red carpet, military band and 21-gun salute is being considered by officials. Photo credit: Getty

Outgoing US President Donald Trump is planning to leave Washington for Florida on the morning of Inauguration Day, sources say, according to the Associated Press (AP). 

Trump has said he will not attend President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration next Wednesday (US time), instead planning a ceremonial farewell at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before his final flight on Air Force One.

Sources stressed to Reuters that Trump's plans could still change, and that it was unclear whether Trump would speak to the public on Wednesday.

According to AP, officials are considering an elaborate send-off event, including a red carpet, colour guard, military band and a 21-gun salute. 

Trump is likely to be at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach by the time Biden is inaugurated, at midday on Wednesday (local time).

He will be the fourth president in history to skip his successor's inauguration - the first since President Andrew Johnson's refusal in 1869.

"To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th," Trump tweeted on January 8.

Some advisors have been urging the president to host Biden for a White House meeting ahead of Inauguration Day, but there has been no sign Trump is willing to do that, an administration official said.

Vice President Mike Pence will attend Biden's inauguration, Biden saying on Friday that he would gladly receive Pence at the ceremony.

Normally, the outgoing president is seen off by his successor, taking a helicopter from the Capitol to Air Force One after a peaceful transition of power.

While Trump hasn't spoken to Biden nor congratulated him on his election win, Pence called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Thursday (local time) to congratulate her and offer assistance.

Once the primary contender for the Republican Party's 2024 nomination, allies have turned on Trump for inciting violence at the US Capitol on January 6, which left five people dead, including a police officer.

Trump is the only US president to be impeached twice, and has suggested to aides that he's considering pardoning himself.