Here is how Trump, the least liked US president, will spend his last day in office
US President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will not be greeted at the White House Wednesday by the outgoing first couple, Donald Trump and Melania Trump, as is the tradition.
They will be received instead by the chief usher of the presidential office-cum-residential complex.
Jill Biden has also not been given the customary tour of the White House by Melania Trump, in another break from tradition.
It usually takes place when the outgoing president hosts his successor for a customary meeting, such as the one President Barack Obama did for Donald Trump, the day after he won the 2016 election.
President Trump, in fact, has not called his successor or congratulated him. He and the first lady will also not attend Biden’s inauguration, in a first such departure from tradition in more than 150 years.
They will leave the White House before noon Wednesday with the lowest approval ratings for an outgoing president and first lady.
Trump presidency’s average approval rating of 41% is the lowest recorded by Gallup, which has tracked American presidents daily for decades. It is four points lower than the previous worst of 45%, scored by President Harry S Truman, a Democrat who served from 1945 to 1953.
Trump also leaves office as the first US president impeached twice: the first time was in December 2019, for pressuring a foreign government to investigate a political rival, Biden. And for the second time a week ago, for trying to prevent US Congress from certifying the election victory of Biden.
Melania Trump departs the White House with the lowest favourability rating among recent first ladies, according to a CNN poll. At 47%, she is way below Michelle Obama’s 67% at this time in January 2017, and Laura Bush also at 67% around now in 2009, and Hillary Clinton’s 56% in 2001.
“I ask every American to be an ambassador of Be Best,” Melania Trump said in a recorded farewell message Monday, referring to her initiative for children, “to focus on what unites us, to rise above what divides us, to always choose love over hatred, peace over violence, and others before yourself.”
The first lady’s message of unity, love, peace and selflessness was starkly at odds with all her husband had done in the past 10 days to subvert democracy and unleash violence not seen before. Trump had incited a mob of supporters to storm the US Capitol, the heart of American democracy, on January 6.
Melania Trump has been in lock-step with her husband’s petulant refusal to accept his election defeat. And she has displayed the same discourtesy to their successors, which has been widely described as a “snub” in US media.
Melania Trump has been barely civil and nowhere close to the lofty ideals she advocated in her “Be Best” programme.
President Trump recorded his own farewell message separately in the evening. It will be released on Wednesday.
Trump and Melania Trump will leave a heavily fortified Washington DC, which is under unprecedented military presence and is now a maze of fences and concrete barricades, on Wednesday morning in their last ride on Marine One, the presidential helicopter, for a military parade outside the city.
A grand farewell awaits them there, as sought by Trump. Contrary to recent reports, Trump is expected to get a red-carpet send off with military colours and guard and a 21-gun salute. Guests have been invited to bring up to five people each, in a clear sign that the outgoing president wants to end an unorthodox and tumultuous presidency with a signature spectacle.
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