Trump Leaves Town an Outcast, Trailed by Pandemic, Job Losses
Donald Trump departs Washington on Wednesday with Americans more politically divided and more likely to be out of work than when he arrived, while awaiting trial for his second impeachment -- an ignominious end to one of the most turbulent presidencies in American history.
Trump intends to leave in the morning for his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, arriving before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated. There, the ex-president will begin his post-presidency life attended at least temporarily by a handful of former White House staffers.
The last president who chose not to attend his successor’s inauguration was Andrew Johnson in 1869, another impeached leader. While Trump’s absence will break more than a century of precedent that has reinforced the peaceful transfer of power in the U.S., Biden has said it’s a “good thing” Trump won’t observe his swearing-in.
Biden arrived in Washington on Tuesday, where Trump isn’t expected to give him a meeting, according to people familiar with the matter, even though the president-elect is staying at Blair House across the street. All of the nation’s other living ex-presidents except Jimmy Carter, who is 96, will join Biden at Arlington National Cemetery after the inauguration to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The outgoing president has been transformed into a political pariah in Washington among all but his most loyal supporters in the wake of the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, which was inspired by Trump’s refusal to accept defeat and recognize Biden’s victory in the November election.
Unemployment is more than a third higher than when he entered office, and more than 400,000 Americans have died of Covid-19.