The Obama family ended their eight-year residency at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on Friday, as the former first couple bid a temporary farewell to the nation’s capital following Donald Trump’s swearing-in ceremony.
Immediately following President Trump‘s oath of office on the West front of the U.S. Capitol, former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, slipped through the building and out to its East front. On the steps, the former first couple shared embraces with former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, as well as Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen.
The Obamas stood with President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, before walking down in unison toward a Marine helicopter. The two couples exchanged pleasantries, before the Obamas boarded the helicopter for the quick hop to Joint Base Andrews, where daughters Malia and Sasha awaited—along with the Air Force jet that, for the next four years, will only be known as Air Force One when Trump is on board.
Barack Obama addressed the crowd after their arrival at Andrews, and joked that “Michelle and I, we’ve really been milking this goodbye thing, so it behooves me to be very brief.”
“I said before and I will say again that when we started on this journey, we did so with an abiding faith in the American people and their ability, our ability, to join together and change the country in ways that would make life better for our kids and our grandkids. The change didn’t happen from the top down, but it happened from the bottom up,” he continued.
“Some folks didn’t think we could pull it off. There were those that felt that the institutions of power and privilege in this country were too deeply entrenched. And yet, all of you came together, in small towns and big cities … you knocked on doors and you made phone calls. You talked to your parents, who didn’t know how to pronounce Barack Obama,” also continued.
He then circled back to his campaign message of hope: “Throughout it was infused with a sense of hope … It wasn’t blind optimism that drove you to do all this work, it wasn’t naiveté … it was hope in the face of difficulty. It was hope in the face of uncertainty.”
“This is just a little pit stop. This is not a period, this is a comma. In the continuing story of building America,” he added later.
Earlier, former President Obama told President Trump “good job” following his inaugural speech.
The former president was also spotted kissing his wife’s hand before they departed.
The family of four will vacation in Palm Springs, California, now-former White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest confirmed earlier in the week. A source told CNN that the Obamas will stay at the Rancho Mirage home of designer Michael Smith – a house they’ve borrowed for vacations before.
The images of the Obamas’ Friday afternoon sendoff—traditional and iconic for outgoing presidents—punctuate a week of sentimental and nostalgic farewell messages, from the former president’s tearful final national address from Chicago, to the former first lady’s soulful last stroll through the White House state floor with her dogs Sunny and Bo.
And on Friday morning, one final Tweet from the Obamas’ @WhiteHouse account reached back to Barack Obama’s winning 2008 campaign slogan: “Yes we can. Yes we did.”
After their final farewell tweets, Mrs. Obama vacated her @FLOTUS Twitter handle (in case the new first lady wants to use it) and her husband gave up @POTUS, heading back to accounts used in their earlier campaigns: @MichelleObama and @BarackObama.
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After their getaway in the sun, the Obamas will return to Washington, D.C., and move into their rental home in the capital’s Kalorama neighborhood. The nine-bedroom, 8,200 square foot mansion is owned by Joe Lockhart, the former White House Press Secretary under President Bill Clinton.
The Obamas are remaining in D.C. at least until Sasha, who is a sophomore, finishes high school, the former President said last year. Before his 2009 inauguration, the family lived in Chicago, where Obama was an Illinois state senator.
Earlier this week, movers were spotted hauling furniture into the Obamas’ new residence, indicating that it will be all ready for their return.