KEY POINTS

  • Trump landed in Florida moments before Biden was sworn in
  • He was greeted on the ground by supporters
  • Some area residents, however, aren’t so thrilled

Donald Trump arrived Wednesday at his new home in Florida about an hour before Joe Biden took the oath of office to become the 46th president of the United States. Trump's absence broke tradition as past sitting presidents have attended the ceremony where there is a peaceful transition of power. 

Trump left Washington, D.C., before inaugural ceremonies began. Departing on his final flight aboard Air Force One, Trump landed in Florida as president, touching down about 45 minutes before Biden was sworn in. Biden took the oath of office shortly before noon ET.

The absence of Trump comes days after he was expelled by several social media sites. Trump has used Twitter as a tool to offer his opinions and talk directly to his base. 

“He’s going to see the support and the love we have for our president. He’s our neighbor,” Willy Guardiola, a Palm Beach-area resident who helped organize something of a welcome committee for the former president, told the Miami Herald. “It’s going to be very emotional.”

The Orlando Sentinel reported that Trump’s motorcade arrived at the Mar-a-Lago resort about 10 minutes before Biden took the oath of office. He left behind a crowd of a couple hundred supporters at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington and was greeted by perhaps a thousand or so more when he arrived in Florida.

One Twitter user, using the name Skyler Swisher, posted a picture of herself in Florida with Roger Stone, a Trump confidant pardoned after he was convicted of lying to Congress and other charges stemming from investigations into Russian election interference.

Trump’s fate in Florida is unclear. His would-be neighbors cited a 1993 agreement with Palm Beach that states Mar-a-Lago members are not allowed to spend more than 21 days a year at the club. The agreement also bars club members from staying at the property for more than seven consecutive days at a time. 

His residency plans in Florida stoked further conflict after his supporters breached the Capitol building on Jan. 6 as Congress was certifying the results in the Electoral College that confirmed Biden’s victory. He was impeached in the House of Representatives just days later for inciting an insurrection, the first president ever to face judgment twice in the lower chamber.

“I think Trump's defense will be that this is political,” Palm Beach County state attorney Dave Aronberg said early this week. “He may say in court that the town and everyone knew that he was living there and never sought to enforce this agreement until now when they started to disagree with his politics.” 

Trump in 2019 changed his permanent residency from New York to Florida.

US President Donald Trump speaks before boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on January 20, 2021. President Trump travels to his Mar-a-Lago golf club residence in Palm Beach, Florida, and will not attend the inauguration for President- US President Donald Trump speaks before boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on January 20, 2021. President Trump travels to his Mar-a-Lago golf club residence in Palm Beach, Florida, and will not attend the inauguration for President-elect Joe Biden. Photo: AFP / ALEX EDELMAN