Obama Family Farewell Includes a Final Missive to Donald Trump
The Obama family exited the east side of the U.S. Capitol building this afternoon after Donald Trump’s inauguration, heading first by helicopter to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, where they will board Air Force One for Palm Springs, California.
Barack Obama had, of course, left the Oval Office earlier today, but not before walking down the White House colonnade after leaving a written letter on the Resolute Desk for his successor, Donald Trump.
“Are you feeling nostalgic?” a reporter shouted along the way.
“Of course,” Obama replied.
“Any final words for the American people?” Obama was asked.
“Thank you,” he said.
The Obamas this morning also welcomed the future first family, the Trumps, to the White House for tea before departing together in the presidential motorcade for the inauguration ceremony. Two by two, Michelle Obama and Melania Trump, Joe Biden and Mike Pence, and Barack Obama and Donald Trump, walked through the White House doors for the 11-minute drive down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol.
After the Capitol ceremony, Barack and Michelle Obama were expected to deliver remarks to their staffs at a farewell event before boarding a presidential airplane likely for the last time as commander in chief and first lady.
The plane, with a call sign for this flight of “Special Air Mission 28000” rather than Air Force One, was scheduled to depart later for the trip to California, where the Obamas plan to vacation.
Obama White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that the Obamas were looking forward to leaving town to “relax a little bit.”
“The president vowed to take his family to a destination that is warmer than Washington, D.C., on Friday and Palm Springs fits the bill,” Earnest said Tuesday.
“This is a community that the president has visited on a number of occasions as president of the United States. He and his family have enjoyed the time they’ve spent there in the past. And they’re looking to travel there on Friday, looking forward to traveling there on Friday.”
The Obama family will be returning to Washington, D.C., where they will live at least until daughter Sasha graduates from high school.
Before their departure from the Oval Office today, the White House staff presented the president and first lady with two U.S. flags that flew over the White House on the first and last day of his presidency.
ABC News’ Alex Mallin contributed to this report.