Former President Promises to Return in ‘Some Form’

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Just four hours before Joe Biden took the oath of office, outgoing US president Donald Trump crossed the White House South Lawn for the last time to be whisked away by Marine One on the first leg of a journey that ended at his Mar-a-Lago resort near West Palm Beach. Before he boarded Air Force One for the short flight to Florida, the still-president held a small farewell ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, outside Washington DC. White House staffers reportedly struggled to find attendees, inviting numerous former officials who lost their positions in the administration after displeasing the president. The small gathering heard their former boss promise to return ‘in some form’.

With that, the Trump Era – short, loud, and erratic – came to its end. The last days of the Trump Administration passed in almost eerie silence after the president had both his Twitter and Facebook accounts cancelled, muzzling the loudhailers that not only launched his candidacy five years ago, but also sustained its momentum up to the surprise victory and subsequently proved priceless as tools for bypassing journalists and avoiding their difficult or awkward questions.

Mr Trump broke with a 150-year-old tradition and declined to be present at the swearing in of his successor. According to White House staffers, he did leave a letter for the incoming president. Its contents were not disclosed. The outgoing president persists in his fact-free conviction that he won the election by a landslide and was robbed of a second term in office by massive fraud.

All living former presidents attended the sober ceremony which is took place at the Capitol where only weeks before an unruly mob stormed and broke into the building, disrupting a joint session of Congress meant to confirm Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States. The procedure resumed after the Capitol had been cleared.

Just before he left the limelight he craved, and keeping with tradition, Mr Trump signed dozens of presidential pardons which – also true to tradition – caused a minor uproar and a predictable public outcry. Amongst those Mr Trump pardoned was his former campaign manager, political whisperer, and chief strategist Steve Bannon who plead not guilty to defrauding thousands of Trump fans who donated $25 million to the ‘We Build the Wall’ campaign. Mr Bannon, who was arrested whilst cruising the waters off Connecticut aboard the yacht of a Chinese billionaire, has been charged with the misappropriation of $1 million.

Mr Trump did not pardon himself or any members of his direct family. He did, however, let rapper Lil Wayne off the hook. Mr Wayne was arrested for possessing an unregistered loaded gold-plated handgun and faced up to ten years behind bars. Also granted a pardon was co-founder Anthony Levandovski of Google’s self-driving vehicle programme who had been serving an 18-month prison sentence for relaying trade secrets to rival Uber. To keep possibly inconvenient truths under wraps, Mr Trump also pardoned a number of politicians and former associates, including his erstwhile campaign manager Paul Manafort and the self-proclaimed master of political hardball and intrigue Roger Stone.

However, the number of pardons and commutations Mr Trump issued on the last day of his presidency compares favourably to those of his predecessors. His departure from the White House was an uncharacteristically low-key event. As soon as Mr Trump had left the building, the mainstream media he so despises started waxing lyrical about the incoming administration with CNN in particular going all-out and praising President Biden to high heaven, raising expectations to far beyond the reasonable and taking temporary leave of journalistic principles of impartiality and fairness in reporting.

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