The outgoing President of the United States, Donald Trump, plans an early morning send-off event for himself at a military airfield in Maryland on Wednesday.
The event is set to hold hours before his successor, Joe Biden, will be inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States at the Capitol in Washington DC, TheGuardian reports.
Trump reportedly wants an ostentatious military parade and an official armed forces farewell as the commander-in-chief, as well as a large crowd of supporters, selected backers and current and former officials in his administration and their guests at a huge red-carpet affair.
But latest reports indicate that Trump, who is facing an impeachment trial in the Senate and many criminal and civil investigations, will not be afforded a big military send-off just two weeks after a deadly insurrection at the US Capitol that followed his exhorting supporters to fight to overturn the election.
Invitations have been issued from the White House for the event.
The ceremony’s details are not yet clear, although attendees will have to make a pre-dawn start and have been told to arrive by 7.15 am when temperatures are forecast to be below freezing.
The invite stated that attendees might not bring items including firearms, ammunition, explosives, laser pointers or toy guns.
Air Force One will then be at the disposal of Biden. Trump would have had to have permission from the Democrat who defeated him to use it if he had waited to leave Washington until Biden was sworn in.
According to some reports, a 21-gun salute has been under consideration for the event at Andrews, and officials consider an elaborate ceremony that would have the feel of a state visit.
However, senior Pentagon officials reportedly told the security and intelligence news website Defense One that no military farewell was being planned for the commander-in-chief, unlike ceremonies for past presidents.
With the sun barely up at the start of an expected-to-be-chilly Wednesday, a minimal group of staff still left in a rapidly emptying White House will see off Trump as he takes one last walk across the lawn to enter Marine One, the presidential helicopter, for the short flight to Andrews just a few miles away.
Strict security arrangements in place for the inauguration, following the January 6 violence, have also limited the number of people who can attend the White House departure.
Four years ago, Barack and Michelle Obama hosted Donald and Melania Trump for tea at the White House before travelling to the ceremony to watch Trump inaugurated as the 45th US president.
But Trump has made it clear he would become the only president in a century and a half not to attend his successor’s inauguration and only the fourth in history not to do so, with the plans for his premature departure unprecedented.
Vice-President Mike Pence is attending Biden’s inauguration, but it is not yet known if he will attend Trump’s farewell at either the White House or Joint Base Andrews beforehand.
Pence travelled to thank troops in California and New York over the weekend as part of a farewell from the Trump-Pence administration, engagements that would have been expected to be carried out by the president.
Trump has not been seen in public since he travelled to the US-Mexico border last Tuesday. In recent weeks he has not visited the US military. And has not visited or spoken of healthcare workers overwhelmed at hospitals and vaccination sites as the US coronavirus death toll approaches 400,000.
The Bidens may be able to see and hear Trump departing aboard Marine One as they stay close to the White House the night before the inauguration.
There is no word on whether Trump will call Biden or leave the traditional letter to his successor upon the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.