Traditions torn up as Trump's last day in office dawns

  • Video report by ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore

Amid the tightest security this city has seen since the Civil War, organisers have planted thousands of flags along the National Mall.

This huge field of flags is an attempt to bring just a little beauty to Washington DC, currently looking like a grim military encampment preparing for war.

If Donald Trump's presidency began with an absurd row about the size of the crowd at his Inauguration, there can be no such repeat this time.

There will only be a few invited guests, mainly members of Congress. Security concerns and the pandemic have forced officials to scale down the whole event.

All the normal rituals of the Inauguration have been torn up by Trump already.

He won't even be attending the ceremony. There will be no shared limousine ride from the White House to Capitol Hill. No exchange of courtesies in the Oval Office.

Instead, Trump is expected to depart tomorrow morning and have a farewell ceremony at Andrews Air Force base, before he flies off to Florida.

Furthermore, there is no civility being shown to the Biden family. Melania won't be showing Jill Biden around the Residence.

Another widely respected tradition is in doubt. The outgoing President normally leaves a letter for his successor on the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. Sometimes it has words of advice, or simply is a gesture of goodwill.

It is widely believed that Trump will not leave any letter for Biden, extending his contempt for the man he claims stole the 2020 election.

Trump will not be out of the news for long.

Within days, it is likely his trial in the Senate will begin, on that single impeachment charge of "incitement to insurrection."

If he is convicted, he may then be barred from ever seeking the presidency again.

The question is whether the Senate trial of Trump will help to heal the wounds left behind by his presidency, or will it infuriate his supporters and deepen the dangerous divide.

In 24 hours, Trump will have left Washington. But the Trump story is far from over. He is likely to remain a sulking, disruptive, inflammatory force for much of the Biden presidency.