The Pentagon has reportedly turned down a request from President Donald Trump to have an extravagant sendoff from the White House, nixing the president’s plans to have a military parade at Joint Base Andrews before he departs Washington, D.C.
As the Daily Wire reported Sunday, Trump had requested “an unprecedented farewell event at Joint Base Andrews, an Air Force base in Maryland where Air Force One is hangared.” The plan was based on receptions he’d received while visiting abroad as a head of state, according to the Associated Press, and Trump’s own planned sendoff was thought to include “a red carpet, color guard, military band and even a 21-gun salute.”
The sendoff was due to take place either on Wednesday morning before President-elect Joe Biden is to take the oath of office on the steps of the United States Capitol or when Trump arrives Wednesday afternoon in Palm Beach, Florida.
“Trump told people he did not like the idea of departing Washington for a final time as an ex-president, flying aboard an airplane no longer known as Air Force One,” CNN said over the weekend. “He also did not particularly like the thought of requesting the use of the plane from Biden, according to a person familiar with the matter.”
Leaving Washington, D.C. ahead of the transfer, notably, affords Trump the use of Air Force One without having to get permission from the new president’s administration.
The 21-gun-salute was taken off the table almost immediately, but the Pentagon waited until later in the day Sunday to fully deny the president’s request for other military honors other than those associated with the Department of Defense’s traditional “Armed Forces Farewell tribute” which typically includes “members of the military getting to meet or see the president in person and usually their commander-in-chief exhibits his appreciation for their commitment and sacrifice,” per the Daily Mail.
The president has reportedly “declined to participate” in these events, the Daily Mail notes, as he has declined to participate in most of the traditional events associated with the handoff of power. Trump will not be present at Biden’s swearing-in and has said he plans to be on the golf course at his Mar-a-Lago club Wednesday afternoon.
The Pentagon, national security outlet Defense One says the Pentagon will not make any other plans.
“Two senior defense officials confirmed to Defense One on Thursday [January 14] that no military farewell is being planned for the commander in chief,” the website said.
President Donald Trump may be planning a non-traditional exit, but President-elect Joe Biden will also have a dramatically different swearing-in and inauguration than most presidents have come to expect. Biden is expected to take the oath of office on the Capitol steps, but without much of an audience, just 25,000 National Guard troops sent to guard the building and a few dozen invited guests. Plans for Biden’s inaugural events, already scaled back because of the coronavirus pandemic, were largely canceled altogether following a January 6th riot and attack at the U.S. Capitol building.
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