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Donald Trump will fly to Florida hours before Biden inauguration, reports say

Luke Harding
·3-min read
<span>Photograph: Carlos Barría/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Carlos Barría/Reuters

Donald Trump is expected to leave the White House as president on Wednesday morning, just hours before Joe Biden’s inauguration, flying off on Air Force One to his beachside home in Florida.

Trump’s post-presidential plans have been clouded in uncertainty. But several US news organisations reported on Friday that Trump intends to live at Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach resort. His daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner are expected to join him there, at least for some of the time.

Trump has said he will not attend Biden’s inauguration, following last week’s deadly invasion of the US Capitol and Trump’s second impeachment on Wednesday. He is expected to leave Washington on the morning of 20 January, Bloomberg reported, citing two people familiar with the matter.

The Associated Press, citing a person familiar with the planning, said there would be a departure ceremony at Andrews air force base, with a military band, red carpet and 21-gun salute under discussion.

Several White House staff are likely to work for Trump and his family from their new Florida base. According to the Palm Beach Post, Melania Trump recently visited a private school in Boca Raton that the couple’s teenage son Barron is due to attend.

Donald Trump&#x002019;s Mar-a-Lago estate
Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. Photograph: Wilfredo Lee/AP

Adjusting to life outside the White House may be tough. When the president arrives at Palm Beach on Wednesday roads will be shut as his motorcade threads its way to Mar-a-Lago. Once Biden is sworn in, however, they will reopen. Commercial flights from the nearby international airport that pass directly over his estate will resume.

It is unclear what exactly Trump intends to do next. It seems inevitable he will spend some of the weeks and months ahead closeted with his lawyers – and, as per his presidency, on the golf course. He faces a second impeachment trial in the Senate and a slew of other legal cases, federal and civil. As an ex-president he loses his immunity from prosecution.

In Washington Trump’s staff are busy packing up. On Wednesday, a photographer for Reuters snapped the president’s trade adviser, Peter Navarro, carrying a large, framed photograph of one of Trump’s meetings with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping. Other items on their way out of the building included a stuffed pheasant and an Abraham Lincoln bust.

The removals and piles of boxes have prompted a rash of puns on Twitter, with several calling on the president to “stop the steal”.

In September 2019 the Trumps filed court papers declaring Mar-a-Lago their permanent residence. Renovations are reportedly going on inside the family’s private quarters. Melania Trump has been shipping items for almost two months, ahead of her return next week, with one source telling CNN: “She just wants to go home.”

Not everyone is thrilled by the prospect of having the former first family move in. Late last year neighbours sent a letter to the town of Palm Beach saying Trump would violate an agreement made in 1993 that allowed him to convert Mar-a-Lago into a private club. It stipulated that no one could reside at the property, the DeMoss family who live next door complained.