President Trump is fully intending on going out with a bang after asking his staff for a large military send-off like no one has ever seen before.
While the president has previously announced his will skip the inauguration of Joe Biden as 46th president – Trump is now planning a massive farewell at Joint Base Andrews, an Air Force base in Maryland where Air Force One is hangared.
“Officials are considering an elaborate send-off event reminiscent of the receptions he’s received during state visits abroad, complete with a red carpet, color guard, military band and even a 21-gun salute, according to a person familiar with the planning who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement,” The Associated Press reported.
“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 reported. “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 while he is still president will allow Trump to use the presidential plane and use the call sign “Air Force One” for his flight to Palm Beach, Florida. However, If Trump were to leave Washington after Biden was sworn in, he would have to ask Biden for permission to use the plane for his trip home.
“Final plans for Trump’s departure were still being laid a week ahead of time, but Trump has expressed interest to some in a military-style sendoff and a crowd of supporters, according to a person with whom he has discussed the matter,” CNN reported.
“Whether that occurs at the White House, Joint Base Andrews or his final destination — Palm Beach International Airport — wasn’t clear. Trump is expected to be ensconced in his Mar-a-Lago club or his nearby golf course by noon on Inauguration Day, when his term officially ends.”
According to Defense One, a military website, the Pentagon has said such a send-off ceremony for Trump will not take place. “The Pentagon, in a break with recent tradition, will not host an Armed Forces Farewell tribute to President Donald Trump,” Executive Editor Kevin Baron wrote in a commentary piece.
Washington D.C. is also locked down after the Capitol breach that occurred on Jan. 6 and thousands of National Guard soldiers are in town to make sure violence doesn’t spark again.
Fences with coiled barbed wire, security checkpoints, barricades, and heavily armed guards are what you would expect in a military encampment for a warzone, not in downtown Washington. But these are only some of the measures that have been put in place in preparation for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week.
Federal authorities have said they’re tracking an “extensive” amount of “concerning online chatter” about potential threats to the inauguration, including armed protests, potential threats linked to the Capitol breach, and other types of potential threats.
Videos by reporters, workers, and residents in the area show street closures, workers putting up miles of barricades and fencing, shops and offices being boarded up, and an increased military presence. Military vehicles can be seen parked on downtown streets, and armed guards are checking identification for people leaving and entering the city.
Biden’s inaugural parade has also been canceled reportedly to limit crowds during COVID-19. Organizers announced the decision earlier this month, saying that a “virtual parade across America” will be held instead.