When Donald Trump promised to turn his back on history and not show up at the inauguration for President-elect Joe Biden, he had his own celebration in mind.
A final, Trump-sized farewell for a man who leaves the White House kicking and screaming but in his own unique way.
The early-morning, drawn-out goodbye at the Joint Base Andrews airbase in Maryland will take place just hours before Mr Biden’s moment — when he is inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States.
Details of the ceremony suggest it will start before dawn on Wednesday but a minor detail in the official White House invitation hints that Mr Trump might not get the crowd he hopes for.
“You may RSVP up to five guests,” a leaked copy of the invitation reads. “RSVPs are required to attend the event.”
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The White House press gallery is having a field day with the news.
Kaitlan Collins, who CNN’s White House Correspondent, tweeted that former White House Director of Communications Anthony Scaramucci was among those to receive an invitation to the event.
You might recall Mr Scaramucci was fired from the role after just 10 days at the recommendation of the President. He went on to voice his support for incoming President Joe Biden — he even went as far as endorsing Mr Trump’s opponent.
Collins wrote that Mr Scaramucci “says he was invited to President Trump’s farewell ceremony Wednesday, which he takes as a sign the White House is desperate to bulk up the guest list”.
She quoted Mr Scaramucci as saying: “Trust me, that had to be a mass email if one of them got sent to me.”
The Wall Street Journal’s White House reporter, Rebecca Ballhaus, tweeted: “Some recipients have been surprised the invite offered them five guests.”
The Guardian reports that Mr Trump had wanted a 21-gun salute, but senior Pentagon officials said no military farewell was being planned.
In skipping the inauguration in favour of his own farewell party, Mr Trump becomes the fourth President in history to do so.
It comes as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to tackle the nation’s multiple crises while balancing the impeachment trial of the outgoing President.
Washington is under the watch of thousands of National Guard troops and ringed with security barriers ahead of his swearing in on Wednesday.
Pro-Trump protests planned at state capitols nationwide got off to a quiet start with only small groups of armed demonstrators gathering in states including Ohio, Texas, Oregon and Michigan on Monday.
“The events of the past few weeks have proven out just how damaged the soul of America has been and how important is to restore it. That work starts on Wednesday,” Biden’s incoming chief of staff Ron Klain told CNN.
“We’re inheriting a huge mess here, but we have a plan to fix it.”
— with AFP