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The moment Trump officially left Washington

“Goodbye. We love you.”

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump wave to supporters as they board Air Force One to head to Florida on January 20.
Pete Marovich-Pool/Getty Images

After four raucous years — President Donald Trump has left Washington.

“Goodbye. We love you. We will be back in some form,” he told his assembled supporters at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, shortly after departing from the White House.

Wednesday, Trump took the extraordinary, but not unexpected, step of skipping President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, breaking with 152 years of tradition by heading home instead of welcoming the new administration (the last president to do so was Andrew Johnson, who also had the dubious honor of being impeached).

As he walked off the stage and up the plane steps, Village People’s “Y.M.C.A.” — which has become a Trump rally standard, much to the group’s chagrin — played in the background: “Young man there’s no need to feel down / I said young man pick yourself off the ground / I said young man ’cause your in a new town / There’s no need to be unhappy.”

It’s yet to be seen if the “young man” is Trump or the country.

Both Trump and the United States are in a radically new place — Trump, now out of office, is struggling to maintain hold of power and relevance in a Republican Party fractured by his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and the insurrection that campaign culminated in. As the president travels to his Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Florida, he faces a suite of legal problems, and an uncertain political future.

And the United States, is preparing for a new administration with a starkly different vision for the country: Wednesday, President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated in an untraditional ceremony — instead of encouraging thousands of Americans to travel for the inauguration and the traditional balls as well as other festivities, officials have actively pleaded with people not to come to Washington, DC, reflecting the seriousness of the security concerns following the insurrection, and the country’s tragically high Covid-19 death toll.

Instead, buoyed by their success at pulling off a virtual convention, Democrats have worked to create a virtual experience including virtual balls which occurred last night and a primetime special with celebrity performers hosted by Tom Hanks.

There are several ways to watch the inauguration and its associated events. In addition to Vox’s livestream of the main event, you can also watch on the Biden team’s official channels as well as any of their social media channels: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch.

Biden’s team has announced that the theme of the event will be “America United.” And last night he led a memorial to those lost to Covid-19. In his inaugural speech, Biden is likely to make the case for Congress to quickly pass his $1.9 trillion relief plan which, as Vox’s Emily Stewart has reported, is “a big deal ... more than double the $800 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that Democrats passed in 2009 in the wake of the Great Recession.”

It’s a complete change in both style and substance as the former occupant of the White House departs. Follow along with Vox’s coverage here.

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