Trump is starting his last full day in office hiding from the public and plotting to steal Biden's thunder, as his approval ratings plummet to historic lows

Sinéad Baker
·4 min read
  • President-elect Joe Biden is set to be inaugurated Wednesday, meaning Tuesday is President Donald Trump's last full day in the White House.

  • Trump has spent the last days of his presidency hidden from public view and with his approval ratings the lowest they have ever been.

  • Trump is not planning to attend Biden's inauguration and instead seems poised to try to steal focus from the event, including by flying out early.

  • Vice President Mike Pence has taken Trump's place in many of the ceremonial tasks that presidents typically do before they leave office, such as attending an inauguration briefing.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump is starting his last full day in office hiding from the public and with his lowest approval ratings ever.

President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration is due to take place Wednesday in a ceremony Trump has said he won't attend, making him the first president since 1869 to buck the tradition.

Trump has largely vanished from public life in the final days of his presidency.

Since some of his supporters staged a deadly riot at the US Capitol on January 6, the president has not made a single public appearance.

His aides have described him as angry and isolated in the White House, with CNN reporting late last week that aides had decided to limit his appearances before the media in case he veered from scripted comments about the riot.

capitol seige
Lawmakers took cover as Trump supporters disrupted the joint session of Congress on January 6. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The attack, and Trump's response, saw him isolated from many in the Republican Party and in his own Cabinet. Numerous top officials have resigned since the riot, leaving him largely alone in the White House.

The House impeached him for a historic second time over his role inciting the Capitol mob last week, and he now faces an impeachment trial in the Senate. Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota told Insider last week that Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, had told GOP senators that they could vote however they wanted during the coming impeachment trial.

Trump will also leave office deeply unpopular.

A Gallup poll published Monday found that 34% of Americans approved of the job Trump was doing as president - his worse performance in a Gallup poll during his presidency.

Gallup added that Trump's average approval rating as president was 41% - 4 percentage points lower than any other president Gallup had polled.

A Pew Research Center survey last week found his approval rating to be 29% as he headed into his last week in office - a historic low.

Trump has put out some statements since the attack but has largely been uncharacteristically silent.

While his social-media accounts were removed from platforms including Facebook and Twitter, Trump has still not turned to other platforms, such as the White House briefing room.

As The Hill noted, Vice President Mike Pence has taken Trump's place in many of the ceremonial tasks that presidents typically do before they leave office, such as attending an inauguration briefing.

Trump's official schedule for his last full day in office mirrors the same vague entry he has had in place over the past few weeks: "President Trump will work from early in the morning until late in the evening. He will make many calls and have many meetings."

Donald Trump press schedule
Trump's official schedule for January 19, 2021. White House Office of the Press Secretary

Read more: The Justice Department promised the Trump White House that its hard drives won't be handed over to Joe Biden

As Insider's Tom Porter previously reported, Trump does have some plans for the final hours of his presidency, but they appear mostly focused on undermining Biden's inauguration rather than spreading his own message or trying to control his legacy.

Trump is expected to issue about 100 presidential pardons and commutations on his last day, and he is said to be considering a military-style send-off on Inauguration Day.

But Trump is expected to leave Washington, DC, for his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida before Biden's inauguration even begins. According to CNN, Trump's aim is to avoid leaving the White House as a former president, and a source suggested he didn't want to ask Biden to borrow Air Force One.

Still, his Inauguration Day plans pale in comparison with what was once expected from the president: He had at one point considered a rally with his supporters in which he would announce a 2024 bid.

Trump advisors told The Hill that Trump planned to spend the immediate future with close aides in Florida as he considered his next steps.

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