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Business News/ News / World/  Trump departs, trailed by pandemic and joblessness
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Trump departs, trailed by pandemic and joblessness

The ex-president, who will skip Biden’s inauguration, still faces impeachment trial

Trump intends to leave Washington on Wednesday morning for his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. APPremium
Trump intends to leave Washington on Wednesday morning for his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. AP

Donald Trump departs Washington on Wednesday with Americans more politically divided and more likely to be out of work than when he arrived, while awaiting trial for his second impeachment—an ignominious end to one of the most turbulent presidencies in American history.

Trump intends to leave in the morning for his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, arriving before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated. There, the ex-president will begin his post-presidency life attended at least temporarily by a handful of former White House staffers.

The last president who chose not to attend his successor’s inauguration was Andrew Johnson in 1869, another impeached leader. While Trump’s absence will break more than a century of precedent that has reinforced the peaceful transfer of power in the US, Biden has said it’s a “good thing" Trump won’t observe his swearing-in.

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Biden will arrive in Washington on Tuesday, where Trump isn’t expected to give him a meeting, according to people familiar with the matter, even though the president-elect will stay at Blair House across the street. All of the nation’s other living ex-presidents except Jimmy Carter, who is 94, will join Biden at Arlington National Cemetery after the inauguration to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The outgoing president has been transformed into a political pariah in Washington among all but his most loyal supporters in the wake of the deadly 6 January insurrection at the US Capitol, which was inspired by Trump’s refusal to accept defeat and recognize Biden’s victory in the November election.

Unemployment is more than a third higher than when he entered office. About 400,000 Americans are expected to be dead of covid-19 by the time Trump leaves the White House on Wednesday.

Yet Trump has left the door open for a second act in national politics, buoyed by the 74 million people who voted for his re-election despite his failure to contain the US coronavirus outbreak.

His popularity has fallen considerably since the election and the Capitol riot, however. Several polls have shown that as he leaves office, record low numbers of Americans —less than 40%, according to an average by RealClearPolitics—approve of his performance as president.

The final Gallup poll of Trump’s presidency, released Monday, found him with 34% support on Monday —tied with Carter and George W. Bush, who left office with the country mired in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and Americans disillusioned with the Iraq War.

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Published: 20 Jan 2021, 07:53 AM IST
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