Donald Trump Departs White House for the Last Time, Calls Presidency 'Honor of a Lifetime'

After four years in the White House, President Donald Trump departed the White House for the last time on Wednesday morning, telling those who gathered that it was the "honor" of his lifetime to be their president.

Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, walked out of the White House doors and across the lawn to Marine One, the president's personal helicopter. The two plan to travel to the president's residence at Mar-a-Lago, Florida, dubbed the "winter White House" while Trump was in office.

As he took his final walk across the lawn as president, Trump gave a wave. He also told members of the press that it was the "honor of a lifetime." He also reportedly mouthed a "thank you" to the press and added, "we love the American people."

Hours later, President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in and take over as commander in chief. While Vice President Mike Pence will be in attendance for the transfer of power, Trump opted not to attend his successor's inauguration.

donald trump white house inauguration
Outgoing President Donald Trump waves as he boards Marine One at the White House in Washington, D.C, on Wednesday. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty

Outgoing deputy press secretary Judd Deere confirmed to reporters that Trump left behind the traditional note for his successor, during which the outgoing president often offers well wishes for the incoming president and a word of advice. After a tumultuous 10 weeks since the election filled with numerous legal challenges from the Trump campaign and a riot at the Capitol over the results, experts speculated the president would skip the 32-year-old tradition.

On his last night in office, Trump sent his best to the incoming administration, although he never mentioned Biden or Vice President-elect Harris by name.

"This week, we inaugurate a new administration and pray for its success in keeping America safe and prosperous. We extend our best wishes, and we also want them to have luck—a very important word," Trump said in a farewell address.

Similar to the short remarks Trump made on Wednesday morning, last night he told the American people that serving as their president was an "honor beyond description" and an "extraordinary privilege." The president touted his domestic and foreign accomplishments and urged people to not "lose" the respect that he built for America on the world stage.

Biden promised to be a president for all Americans regardless of their political affiliation, but he plans on dismantling some of Trump's actions on his first day in office. One of the biggest breaks from Trump is the rejoining of the World Health Organization (WHO). In May, Trump announced the United States was terminating its relationship with the WHO, a month after he said he was going to cut funding because of the organization's response to China's role in the pandemic.

Biden called the WHO an "entity critical" to coordinating a global response to COVID-19, advancing preparedness for the future and improving health for everyone. On Thursday, Fauci will participate in an executive board meeting and deliver remarks as the Head of Delegation.

It's unclear what role Trump wants to play in the political arena after his presidency, but on Tuesday night, he announced in his farewell address the movement he created is "just beginning"