Washington: Outgoing US President Barack Obama will take his last flight on Air Force One to his hometown of Chicago to deliver his farewell speech marking the end of his successful eight years of presidency, a top American official has said.
This is also likely to be Obama’s final out of town-travel as the 44th President of the United States before he would pass on the baton to Donald Trump at a swearing-in ceremony on January 20.
Barack Obama has rented a house to live in Washington DC for the next two years for his youngest daughter to complete her studies.
Unlike in India, the former Presidents in the US are not provided a government accommodation. However, he and his family members would be receiving secret service protection.
“At this point, the trip to Chicago will be President Obama’s final trip outside of Washington, DC as President of the United States,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest confirmed yesterday.
“I think it is likely to be his last Air Force One flight – although it is obviously tradition for the former President to take one last flight aboard the presidential aircraft at the conclusion of the inauguration,” he said.
Even though Obamas’ would be moving to a city resident after January 20, he would be taking the last customary Air Force One flight after Trump is sworn in as his successor.
Mr Earnest did not say where President Obama would be headed to for his last Air Force One flight.
“The President and First Lady will be leaving town shortly after the inaugural ceremony. But they will return, of course, to their rented house here in Washington, DC,” he said.
President Obama, who is known for his oratory skills is scheduled to deliver a major address to the nation from his hometown on Tuesday night.
Mr Earnest said the President was still working on the draft.
“I would say that the President’s participation in the writing of this speech is commensurate with his role in the writing of other major speeches, which is to say that the President is heavily involved,” he said.
President Obama is committed to delivering a forward-looking speech that will examine briefly the significant progress that the US has made in the last eight years, he said.
“But it will take a closer look and he’ll spend more time talking about what the President believes is necessary for us to confront the challenges that lie ahead,” he said.
“And most of those solutions, in the mind of the President, rest on the deeply held values that just about every American subscribes to. Those values include fairness and justice. It includes the idea that, if you work hard, you should have the opportunity to succeed regardless of what you look like, or what your last name is, or who you love,” he said.
“The President believes that obviously, the diversity of this country is a strength and that, for all our differences, there’s much more that unites us than separates us. Our country is stronger when we remember that principle and we draw upon those common values,” he said in a brief preview of the speech.
His speech is also likely to have some aspects of his foreign policy.
“I certainly wouldn’t rule out a discussion of some foreign policy topics. I can’t detail which ones will be included,” Mr Earnest said.
“But I would anticipate that the vast majority of his speech will be focused on many of the domestic policies and domestic considerations that the next President will have to carefully consider,” he said.