After four tumultuous years in office, Donald Trump on Wednesday left the White House for the final time as president of the United States. President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in later in the day in a scaled back ceremony at the US Capitol, which Trump has refused to attend.

After he walked out of the White House, Trump told reporters it was a “great honor” to serve as 45th President of the United States, reported CNN. He said it has been the “honor of a lifetime” and that he “just wanted to walk over and say goodbye”.

He, along with First Lady Melania Trump then boarded the Marine One helicopter, which took them to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, where Trump held a farewell event with his administration and other supporters. After this, the Trumps departed for Florida.

‘We’ll see each other again’

Trump began his farewell speech at the Joint Base Andrews by thanking his family. “People have no idea how hard this family worked,” he said. “They could have had a much easier life, but they just, they did a fantastic job.”

He called the first lady a “woman of great grace and beauty and dignity,” and said she was “so popular with the people”. Melania Trump also spoke briefly, saying, “Being your first lady was my greatest honor.”

The outgoing president also hailed his administration’s record.“This has been an incredible four years,” he claimed. “We’ve accomplished so much together.”

Trump said he would “always fight” for the country. “I will be watching,” he added. “I will be listening, and I will tell you that the future of this country has never been better.”

While he wished the next government “great luck,” he did not mention Biden by name. “I wish the new administration great luck and great success,” he said. “I think they’ll have great success. They have the foundation to do something really spectacular.”

Trump added that he “would be back in some form”. “I just want to say goodbye, but hopefully it’s not a long-term goodbye,” he said, according to BBC. “We’ll see each other again.”

He said it had been his “greatest honour and privilege” to be the president of America. “You are amazing people,” Trump added. “This is a great, great country.”

The outgoing president typically departs shortly after the incoming president is sworn in. But Trump, who fought bitterly the results of the 2020 election, is skipping Biden’s inauguration. The president’s refusal to greet his successor before attending the inauguration represents a break with more than a century and a half of political tradition, seen as a way to affirm the peaceful transfer of power, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, Biden plans to kick start his new administration on Wednesday by signing a series of executive actions to roll back some of the policies put in place by Trump. The new policies will reverse Trump’s decisions on immigration, climate change and handling of the coronavirus pandemic.