US President Donald Trump will leave Washington at dawn on Wednesday, hours before the inauguration of his Democratic successor Joe Biden, whom he has still not congratulated.
Obviously wishing not to leave the American federal capital as ex-president, the former businessman, very sensitive to decorum, will join Florida and his luxurious club of Mar-a-Lago before the end of his mandate. , where he intends to settle.
After a helicopter departure from the gardens of the White House, he will fly from the military base in Andrews (Maryland) for his last flight aboard Air Force One.
In Washington, an unrecognizable city transformed into an entrenched camp after the violence at the Capitol, preparations are continuing for the swearing in of Joe Biden, who will become, Wednesday at noon, the 46th president in the history of the United States.
His team distills the details day after day. Lady Gaga, whom Joe Biden calls his “great friend”, will sing the American national anthem.
But the party will have a special taste this year: the “National Mall”, the immense esplanade at the foot of the Capitol, will be closed to the public.
Only duly accredited persons will be allowed to enter the area where, traditionally, the supporters of the president-elect gather by the hundreds of thousands.
Since the capture of the Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump on January 6, Washington has been placed under close surveillance, crisscrossed by the police now supported by thousands of soldiers.
Joe Biden’s team and Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser have called on the American people to avoid central Washington and watch the inauguration ceremony online or on television.
– The White House is emptying –
In a stark contrast to a Donald Trump, deprived of his Twitter account and who lives reclusive in the White House, Vice President Mike Pence appears every day a little more like the man in charge.
On Thursday, he congratulated the future vice-president Kamala Harris by phone, a source familiar with the matter told AFP on Friday. It was their first exchange since their fall debate in the heart of the campaign.
He also planned to participate in the inauguration ceremony, like former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
After the ceremony, Joe Biden will travel to Arlington National Cemetery with them to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and call for unity.
Donald Trump is the first president to snub the performance of his successor for more than 150 years.
After more than two months refusing to admit defeat in the November 3 election, he ended up promising a smooth transition a few days ago, but he never congratulated Joe Biden.
The White House is emptying at high speed, a number of advisers having already left the premises, taking documents and souvenirs.
The photos of Donald Trump traveling in the United States or around the world, hung on the walls of the famous West Wing, are no longer there.
On the large empty walls, only a few hooks remain, awaiting the photos of Joe Biden.