By Babajide Okeowo
In a painfully fitting end to his presidency, Donald Trump took off on Air Force One as Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” played on the tarmac.
Here’s a sample of the lyrics from the famous song: “Regrets, I’ve had a few / But then again, too few to mention / I did what I had to do / And saw it through without exemption … But more, much more than this / I did it my way”.
Trump is en route to Mar-a-Lago in Florida and will not be in attendance for Joe Biden’s inauguration.
The outgoing President said his administration had “left it all on the field”, and will not be saying to themselves they could have worked harder. He began to conclude his address by saying “You are amazing people and this is a great country it is an honor and privilege to have been your president,” while the crowd chanted
“Thank you Trump.”
He promised that he would be watching and listening, that the future of the country was great, and he wished the incoming administration success and luck, and said he thought they would be successful. He said they had the foundations to do something really spectacular, and that his administration had “put it in a position where it’s never been, before despite being hit with the worst plague since 1917.”
Trump invited the outgoing first lady Melania Trump to say a few words, and then listed a series of achievements he claimed for his administration, including creating the US Space Force, tax cuts, and his repeated (and repeatedly debunked claim) that he built the greatest economy the US has ever seen.
“Everything is complex, be careful” he said, and then took advance credit for “incredible numbers” that are going to be coming under the Biden administration.
He described the development of a coronavirus vaccine in nine months as “a medical miracle”, although in truth the US is not the only country to have aided the development of vaccines in such short order.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump has left a note for his successor before he left the Oval Office for the last time, a White House spokesperson for the Trump administration confirmed to the Guardian.
The note to incoming president Joe Biden continues a longstanding tradition between successive presidents, even of the opposing parties. The letters are meant to stay private but oftentimes eventually get leaked out to the public.
When Barack Obama left office in 2015, he wrote a note for Trump. George W Bush too left a note for Obama in 2009.
The tradition of the departing letter, oftentimes both formal and heartfelt, goes back to when Ronald Reagan left office.
Moments after Donald Trump departed Washington, Joe Biden’s Twitter account shared this message: “It’s a new day in America.”
That may foreshadow the themes of Biden’s inaugural speech. The president-elect based his campaign on the promise to restore “the soul of the nation,” and he is likely to voice a similarly hopeful message today.