The Pentagon will not host traditional Armed Forces farewell tribute for Donald Trump - Defence officials

The Pentagon will not host a traditional Armed Forces ceremony to farewell outgoing President Donald Trump, according to several reports, following his second impeachment on charges of inciting an insurrection.

Two senior Department of Defense officials confirmed to Washington-based Defense One - a digital news outlet covering the defence and national security sector - that a military farewell is not being planned for the President, who will officially vacate the White House on January 20.

In recent history, the Pentagon - the headquarters of the Department of Defense - will mark the end of a President's administration by hosting an Armed Forces farewell tribute, during which the Commander-in-Chief has the opportunity to thank troops who work perilously to defend their country. 

However, it now appears Vice President Mike Pence has been tasked with the tradition. On Wednesday (local time), the White House announced that Pence will front a series of engagements to celebrate "the Trump Administration's historic foreign policy achievements".

In the announcement, the White House declared that Pence "will deliver remarks to sailors on the Trump administration's historic foreign policy achievements at Naval Air Station Lemoore", an engagement he fulfilled on Saturday (local time).

On Sunday, the Vice President is set to address the 10th Mountain Division - a light infantry division in the United States Army, specially trained to fight in mountainous and arctic conditions - in Fort Drum, New York.

Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence visit Naval Air Station Lemoore in Lemoore, California, January 16, 2021.
Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence visit Naval Air Station Lemoore in Lemoore, California, January 16, 2021. Photo credit: Reuters

It follows reports that Trump is seeking an extravagant sendoff on the morning of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

An insider source told CNN last week that Trump wants his departure from the White House to be commemorated with an elaborate "military-style sendoff" and a "crowd of supporters".

According to ABC News, the President had envisioned a military band, a red carpet and a US Air Force fly-past to mark the end of his administration, with the Associated Press reporting that Trump had also inquired about the possibility of a 21-gun salute.

Vice-President Mike Pence and Trump.
Vice-President Mike Pence and Trump. Photo credit: Reuters

It's understood that Trump intends to travel to his luxury Palm Beach resort, the Mar-a-Lago, as Biden takes the helm on Wednesday. The President has made it clear that he will not be attending the inauguration of his successor, and instead has reportedly discussed hosting a televised political rally in Florida concurrently to the ceremony in an attempt to outshine the Democrat.

Trump is also reportedly refusing to participate in any traditional events or rituals commemorating the end of an incumbency and welcoming the successor, such as leaving a letter of advice to the new President or hosting a one-on-one meeting.

The Pentagon will not host a traditional Armed Forces farewell ceremony for the outgoing President.
The Pentagon will not host a traditional Armed Forces farewell ceremony for the outgoing President. Photo credit: Getty

Despite repeatedly claiming there will be a peaceful transition of power on January 20, the President has continued to maintain that he is the rightful winner of November's election. Long-shot lawsuits filed in several states by the Trump campaign made little headway, with Trump and his representatives yet to present concrete evidence substantiating their allegations of mass voter fraud. 

On January 13, Trump was impeached for a second time, charged with 'incitement of insurrection' one week after crowds of his supporters stormed the Capitol in a violent riot, claiming the lives of five people. 

As a result, the 74-year-old's Twitter account was permanently suspended, the social network intervening to mitigate the risk of "further incitement of violence". The President has been widely accused of galvanising his most dedicated supporters during a rally on the morning of the carnage, spurring his most dedicated supporters to march on Capitol Hill in protest.

Due to the chaotic siege, the swearing-in of President-elect Biden will be closed to the public, with more than 20,000 National Guard troops deployed to Washington D.C. to maintain order in the capital.

It's understood that the FBI is currently tracking several threats of violence - including a rumoured plan for thousands of "armed patriots" to descend on the Capitol or the White House - in protest of Biden's presidency.