How will Barack Obama spend his last day in office?

By Paige Cockburn and Chloe Brice.

Barack Obama’s presidency is nearing its end, which begs the question — what will he do with his last morning in power?

If he follows the lead of past presidents, an exit prank and over 100 last-minute pardons could be on the agenda.

Will he pen a letter for Trump?

It is likely Mr Obama will pen some personal words of advice to Donald Trump to leave on the Oval Office desk.

However, the content of the letter may not be made public for years to come.

Some of the most famous last words of presidents have included:

  • “Don’t let the turkeys get you down.” — Ronald Reagan to George H W Bush.
  • “I wish you great happiness here. I never felt the loneliness some presidents have described.” — George H W Bush to Bill Clinton.
  • “If you are as happy, my dear sir, on entering this house as I am in leaving it and returning home, you are the happiest man in this country.” — James Buchanan to Abraham Lincoln.

Tea with the Trumps.

Mr Obama will enjoy his last cup of White House brew alongside Mr Trump and his wife Melania.

Like presidents before him, Mr Obama has invited the Trumps to come for tea before they all head together to the Capitol for the inauguration.

Tom Barrack, chairman of the inaugural committee, called the invite “very gracious”.

White House exit pranks.

Will we see the letter ‘T’ removed from all the keyboards in the White Office ahead of Mr Trump’s takeover? Unlikely.

That was Bill Clinton’s move in 2001, when he removed the letter ‘W’ before handing over to George W Bush.

Mr Obama is joker, but actually more of a prank-victim than a prankster.

His staff pulled a stunt over the holidays, haunting him with snowmen after he admitted they gave him the creeps.

So either they are well prepped for another gag or it is out of their systems, in which case there will be no misspellings of ‘Trump’ coming from the White House.

Will Obama grant more pardons?

While tying up loose ends, past presidents have issued commutations and pardons during their final hours in office.

In 2009, George W Bush pardoned two former Border Patrol agents on his last day, and in 2001 Mr Clinton drew controversy by pardoning 141 people, including Marc Rich, a billionaire fugitive indicted on tax evasion.

Mr Obama has already commuted 209 sentences and granted 64 pardons in his final days.

On Wednesday, he issued the most high-profile commutation of his eight-year tenure to Chelsea Manning, who was jailed for leaking classified files to WikiLeaks. .


There has been speculation he could issue former secretary of state Hillary Clinton a pre-emptive pardon over any offences committed in her use of a private email server.

Doing so would protect Mrs Clinton if Mr Trump decided to pursue his threats of prosecting her.

This would be reminiscent of former president Gerald Ford pardoning Richard Nixon before any charges were made over the Watergate scandal.

Up and away to ‘some place warm’.

Once the inaugural ceremony wraps up, Mr Obama will hitch his last ride on the Marine One helicopter to the Andrews Air Force base in Maryland for an exclusive hangar event.

It will be an emotional goodbye with his administration officials, who will be replaced with Mr Trump’s picks.

The Obamas will then board Air Force One for the very last time and jet off on vacation to “some place warm”, as Mr Obama recently told Oprah.

“I know what I’ll do right after the next president’s inaugurated … I’ll be on a beach somewhere, drinking out of a coconut,” he said at a White House event back in 2014.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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