US Election: How Donald Trump spent his last full day as President ahead of handing power to Joe Biden

US President Donald Trump's last full day in office ended in a similar way it started four years ago - with a string of exaggerations and lies that gave fact-checkers a field-day.

During his farewell address on Tuesday (local time), he made false statements about the US economy, the political movement he's started, and his role in developing COVID-19 vaccines. He also proudly claimed he was the first president in decades to start no new wars.

But on his watch, 400,000 Americans have now died from the virus, and in a few days, the country will have lost more people than it did in the Second World War.

The outgoing President began his presidency in 2016 promising to build a wall. Now he leaves the White House having achieved that goal - just not the walls he imagined, nor the location either. 

The swamp he promised to drain is now flooded with 25,000 soldiers that are drafted in to prevent another attack from his supporters, similar to the one at the US Capitol earlier this month.

During a 20 minute valedictory address, he spoke about taking forward a new movement, but not once did he mention his successor Joe Biden by name.

"As I prepare to hand power over to a new administration, I want you to know the movement we started is only just beginning, there's never been anything like it," he said.

Nor has there been anything like the scenes in Washington DC. The result of the insurrection he encouraged is now something from which he distances himself. 

And while he claimed to be "the first president in decades who has started no new wars", he certainly created a warzone in the very heart of DC.

Two official protest zones have been set up for Inauguration day - one is next to the Canadian Embassy, and another is nearby at the National Navy Memorial. Both are dubbed "First Amendment zones" where people can exercise their right to protest.

But just 100 people will be allowed in each protest zone, all of them rigorously screened and scrutinised at checkpoints. But all of this may have already acted as a deterrent, with one officer telling Newshub one of the protests has already been cancelled. 

Getting anywhere close to the event will be near impossible, with a vast red zone stretching more than four square kilometres. The latest concern for authorities is the threat of extremists using drones.

But it's not just security threats from the air and the public but from within the military too. The FBI's last-minute vetting blitz has so far identified a dozen soldiers who pose a threat to the inauguration.

"We're out of an abundance of caution taking action and immediately removing them from the line of duty at the Capitol and the events taking place," Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman says.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 11: National Guard member stage on the U.S. Capitol Building grounds, as heightened security measures are in place nearly a week after a pro-Trump insurrectionist mob breached the security of the nations capitol while Congress voted to certify the 2020 Election Results on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty Images

Outside the White House, there was a street party of sorts from those celebrating the imminent departure of its current occupant.

"I'm an atheist and I'm saying 'thank God'. Glad he's gone," protest organiser Nadine Seiler says.

"I have been protesting Trump for the last four years. I'm tired and I'm glad I won't have to do it anymore."

While in Delaware, President-elect Joe Biden's home state, tears stained his face as he prepared to depart.

"Sorry I'm very emotional today, but when I die, Delaware will be written on my heart," he said.

He spoke of his son Beau, a promising politician, who died of brain cancer at 46.

"I only have one regret, he's not here because we should be introducing him as president."

Twenty-four hours out from his own swearing-in, Biden touched down in Washington DC on a private plane. Trump denied him the time-honoured courtesy of using a military aircraft to travel to the state.

In the evening (local time), alongside Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, they stood and bathed in the glow of 400 lights at a memorial for the 400,000 Americans who, as of Wednesday, have died from COVID-19.

"Tonight, we grieve and begin healing together," Harris said.

"To heal, we must remember," Biden added.