Trump Family Arrives in Florida as They Skip Out on Biden Inauguration

Donald Trump arrived in Florida on Wednesday shortly before his term officially ended, as Biden was being inaugurated in Washington, D.C.

Outgoing President Donald Trump left Washington, D.C. for Florida for the final time on Wednesday, arriving in the Sunshine State just as his successor Joe Biden kicked off his Inauguration Day events.

Trump, 74, landed in West Palm Beach on Air Force One around 11 a.m. with wife Melania Trump by his side. The couple was photographed leaving the White House together shortly after 8 a.m. before they headed south to Florida, where sources have told PEOPLE the family plans to begin its next chapter.

There was no crowd to greet Trump and his family at Palm Beach International Airport. As the former president's motorcade drove him to his private residence, according to reporters traveling with him, some Trump supporters and dissenters had gathered along the route.

"You're fired," one person's sign read, while others noted support or messages reading "We love you." Other signs in Trump's eyeshot were more blunt: "Loser," one read.

Trump arrived at his private club with 29 minutes left in his presidency, less than a half hour before Biden, 78, took office. He waved to reporters and mouthed "thank you," but did not stop to talk.

Before boarding Air Force One earlier in the morning, Trump delivered a boasting, self-congratulatory speech touting his performance as the 45th president. "The things that we've done have just been incredible," he said.

On the heels of his second impeachment for inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol building, the latest Gallup poll shows Trump left office with his lowest approval rating ever: 34%. His overall performance had an average approval rating of 41%, according to Americans polled by Gallup, the lowest average approval rating on record for a U.S. president.

Instead of attending President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony, an often unconventional and controversial Trump broke from yet another U.S. tradition by hosting his own farewell ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base.

Trump family
Trump family awaits their father's departure on Air Force One on Wednesday. ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty

Traditionally, outgoing presidents and first ladies stand on the steps of the White House welcoming the president-elect and incoming first lady to their new home.

The new first lady often gives the outgoing first lady a gift. Mrs. Trump handed Michelle Obama a blue Tiffany's box that Mrs. Obama later told Ellen DeGeneres contained a "lovely frame." Mrs. Obama previously gave Laura Bush a cream-colored package when she arrived.

Recently, the new president daughter, Ashley Biden, confirmed to Today's Jenna Bush Hager that Mrs. Trump did not reach out to First Lady Dr. Jill Biden about the traditional visit.

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania
From left: Donald and Melania Trump leave the White House on Jan. 20. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty

The two couples smile, pose for pictures, and then travel together to the inauguration ceremony. Later, the outgoing president departs on a chopper from the White House lawn and then, traditionally, flies commercial to begin his next chapter.

But two days after the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, in one of his last tweets before being banned from Twitter, Trump wrote that he will not be attending Biden's swearing-in ceremony. "To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th," he tweeted.

"Him not being there is a good thing," Biden said later that day at a press conference in Delaware when he announced his cabinet members. Biden declared it was "one of the few things" he and Trump agreed on.

Donald Trump Jr., Tiffany Trump, US President Donald J. Trump, US First Lady <a href="" data-inlink="true">Melania Trump</a> and <a href="" data-inlink="true">Barron Trump</a>
The Trump family at the Republican National Convention in August. JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
President Donald Trump gestures to supporters en route to his Mar-a-Lago Florida Resort, in West Palm Beach, Fla Biden Inauguration, West Palm Beach, United States - 20 Jan 2021
President Donald Trump gestures to supporters en route to his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, after leaving the White House on Wednesday. Lynne Sladky/AP/Shutterstock

Trump joins a very short list of past presidents who opted to not attend their successor's swearing-in ceremony.

Richard Nixon left the White House before then-Vice President Gerald Ford was sworn in, John Adams skipped the 1801 inauguration and John Quincy Adams skipped the 1829 inauguration. Andrew Johnson — the first president to be impeached — also skipped the 1869 inauguration when Gen. Ulysses S. Grant was sworn in.

Also notably absent from Inauguration Day were Trump's children.

"Ivanka is not expected to attend the inauguration nor was she ever expected to," a White House official told PEOPLE a week before the swearing-in ceremony.

Following her father to Florida, She and her husband, Jared Kushner, recently bought property in the Miami area, while her brother Donald Trump Jr. and girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle are house hunting in Palm Beach County, sources previously confirmed to PEOPLE.

A source also told PEOPLE that newly engaged Tiffany Trump has been actively looking for a house in Miami Beach.

The Trump children's decision to head south to Florida aligns with the idea that the president and his children are looking to start their next chapter in Florida, where he owns the Mar-a-Lago Club, sources have previously told PEOPLE.

President Trump, a lifelong New Yorker, became a Florida resident in 2019, filing paperwork to officially designate Mar-a-Lago as his family's place of primary residence.

Sources told PEOPLE in December that his residence at the club is undergoing renovations, and that Mrs. Trump has been scoping out local schools for their 14-year-old son Barron.

Spokespeople for the president did not respond to a request for comment, though a White House source told PEOPLE the Trump family "has many homes and they will be traveling between them."

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