The inauguration of Joe Biden

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Veronica Rocha and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 12:42 a.m. ET, January 21, 2021
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9:09 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Trump has departed the DC area for the last time as President

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump board Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on January 20.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump board Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on January 20. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Air Force One, carrying President Trump and first Lady Melania Trump, just took off from Joint Base Andrews. They're on their way to Florida.

The plane took off as Frank Sinatra's "My Way" played over speakers.

While it is typical for outgoing presidents to depart Washington on one of the airplanes maintained by the 89th Airlift Wing of the Air Force, it is not typical for that final flight to be officially called Air Force One, since those craft only have those names when the President is on them.  

An outgoing president's final airplane flight is usually called a Special Air Mission. Trump’s predecessor, 44th President Barack Obama, left town on a flight officially known as Special Air Mission 44.  

But Trump’s early departure from the White House means he’ll still be president for the entirety of his flight to Florida.  

Watch moment Air Force One departs:

8:58 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Trump rejected scripted remarks for this morning's final speech

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Aides had prepared a speech for the President this morning that included references to the incoming administration and included more gracious language about a peaceful transition, according to a person familiar with the matter.

But Trump discarded the speech, and teleprompters were removed from the stage before he arrived at Joint Base Andrews.

A person familiar with the matter said the decision was made after Trump read the remarks this morning at the White House.

1:10 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Trump didn't mention Biden by name in his final speech as President

President Trump and first Lady Melania Trump are about to leave Joint Base Andrews for Florida.

In his short, unscripted remarks, Trump thanked his family and vowed to "always fight."

“You are amazing people. This is a great, great country. It is my greatest honor and privilege to have been your President,” Trump said to a crowd of his family and staff. 

While he wished the next administration "great luck," but he did not mention President-elect Joe Biden by name.

In his last words before getting on the plane, Trump said: "Have a good life, we will see you soon."

9:31 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

The Bidens have arrived at church

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

President-elect Joe Biden and Jill Biden attend mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, DC, with congressional leaders on January 20.
President-elect Joe Biden and Jill Biden attend mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, DC, with congressional leaders on January 20. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Moments after President Trump board Air Force One had his farewell ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, President-elect Joe Biden was seen departing Blair House along with his wife Jill Biden to go to church.

His motorcade just arrived at Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, DC, where he'll attend mass this morning with his family, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her family.

They will be joined by bipartisan congressional leaders. Father Kevin O'Brien will delivery the homily.

The Bidens attend Mass ahead of inauguration:

8:51 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Biden is attending a church service this morning. Here are key things to know about the tradition.

From CNN’s Ethan Cohen, Liz Stark and Adam Levy

Joe Biden, who will become only the second Catholic president, is attending a service at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, DC, ahead of his Inauguration later today. 

Biden will be joined by all four congressional leaders, CNN reported, including Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.

Incoming presidents typically attend services on the morning of their inauguration, often at St. John’s Episcopal Church, a small church across Lafayette Square from the White House known as “The Church of the Presidents.” 

Since 1933, seven presidents – Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Truman, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Obama and Trump – attended morning services at St. John’s ahead of their public inaugurations, according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies

FDR went to St. John’s before three of his inaugurations; for his fourth, in 1945, FDR attended a private service at the White House.

St. John’s was back in the news in 2020 as the backdrop of Trump’s infamous Bible photo op.

About the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle: The cathedral, the Mother Church of the archdiocese of Washington, is named for Saint Matthew the Apostle, the patron saint of civil servants, according to the cathedral’s website.

St. Matthew’s has been the site of several historical events, including the funeral Mass for President John F. Kennedy on November 25, 1963. Funerals for Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court William Rehnquist and Associate Justice William J. Brennan were also held there.

Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis have all visited St. Matthew’s, as well.

The cathedral also traditionally hosts an annual celebration called the “Red Mass” on the Sunday prior to the beginning of the Supreme Court’s regular October term, where Supreme Court justices, members of Congress and government leaders are invited to attend the special service.

1:10 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

"I will always fight for you," Trump says in closing address as President

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

President Donald Trump speaks before boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on January 20.
President Donald Trump speaks before boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on January 20. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

In his closing remarks as President, Donald Trump promised to "always fight" and wished the incoming Biden administration "great luck."

“You are amazing people. This is a great, great country. It is my greatest honor and privilege to have been your President,” Trump said to a crowd of his family and staff. 

“I will always fight for you. I will be watching. I will be listening, and I will tell you that the future of this country has never been better. I wish the new administration great luck and great success. I think they'll have great success. They have the foundation to do something really spectacular,” Trump added. 

He also thanked Vice President Mike Pence, Second Lady Karen Pence and Congress.

See Trump say goodbye in closing address:

1:10 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Trump thanks his children at send-off ceremony: "They did a fantastic job"

From CNN's Betsy Klein

As he began his remarks at Joint Base Andrews, President Trump focused on his family, who were in attendance to the side of the stage.

He recognized his children, saying, “People have no idea how hard this family worked. They could have had a much easier life, but they just, they did a fantastic job.”

He also recognized his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, before calling up first lady Melania Trump to make brief remarks.  

He called the first lady a “woman of great grace and beauty and dignity," and said she was “so popular with the people,” despite CNN polling that finds she is the first lady with the lowest popularity rating in recent history

Melania Trump took the podium briefly, saying, “Being your first lady was my greatest honor."

After she concluded her remarks, the President retook the microphone, saying, “What else has to be said, right? That’s true honey, great job.” 

1:11 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Melania Trump: "Being your first lady was my greatest honor"

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

First lady Melania Trump speaks before boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on January 20.
First lady Melania Trump speaks before boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on January 20. Alex Edelman/AFP/Getty Images

First lady Melania Trump spoke at President Trump's final farewell ceremony at Joint Base Andrews before they leave for Florida.

"Being your first lady was my greatest honor. Thank you for your love and your support. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you all. God bless your families. And God bless this beautiful nation. Thank you," she said.

Watch Melania Trump's message:

8:40 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

President Trump and Melania Trump just took the stage at Joint Base Andrews

President Trump and his wife, Melania Trump, just walked off Marine One and onto the stage at Joint Base Andrews for his send-off ceremony.

He's now speaking ahead of his flight to Florida.

See Trump arrive at Joint Base Andrews after leaving White House: