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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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:

8:45 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Trump arrives at Joint Base Andrews

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

President Trump has just arrived at Joint Base Andrews for his final farewell ceremony, the first time he's been seen in public for over a week.

On the stage where Trump will deliver what are likely his last public remarks as President, there’s a podium with the Presidential seal. There are no teleprompters.

He will be in Florida when President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are sworn in at noon, at which point he will no longer be president.

8:33 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Trump said it was a "great honor" to serve as President in parting remarks to reporters

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt and Betsy Klein

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump stop to talk with the media before departing the White House on January 20.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump stop to talk with the media before departing the White House on January 20. Alex Brandon/AP

After he walked out of the White House, President Trump told reporters it was a "great honor" to serve as 45th President of the United States.

He said it has been the "honor of a lifetime" and that he just wanted to walk over and say goodbye.

He added he hoped it would not be a long goodbye, CNN’s Jeremy Diamond reported. 

“It seemed the President was trying to take this in and say one final goodbye here,” Diamond said. 

8:41 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

This is how President Trump spent his final night in the White House

From CNN's Pamela Brown

The White House is pictured on January 20.
The White House is pictured on January 20. Eric Thayer/Getty Images

A source close to the White House says President Trump spent his final night in the White House working on pardons and signing the final paperwork just before midnight.

His daughter Ivanka was with him until 10 p.m. ET and left to make phone calls to some of the people pardoned until 2 a.m. ET. Ivanka had been very involved in recent days in the criminal justice pardons for non-violent offenders.

The sources says the feeling is "bittersweet" as the family departs today. Another source says he’s relieved to leave behind the pressure of the presidency.

His daughter and son in law will not be joining him on Air Force One.

8:29 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Trump is taking his final flight in Marine One

Marine One lifts off carrying President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump as they depart from the White House on January 20.
Marine One lifts off carrying President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump as they depart from the White House on January 20. Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Marine One just took off from the White House lawn, carrying President Trump to Joint Base Andrews for his send-off ceremony.

But it is not typical for a president's final flights to be officially called Marine One and Air Force One, since those craft only have those names when the President is on them. (Typically, presidents leave DC after the new president is inaugurated.)

The helicopter flight for the outgoing president typically becomes known as Executive One.

See moment Marine One takes off: