His presidency was defined by showmanship and bravado, but Donald Trump's final moments in the White House were "sad and pathetic".
The self-described billionaire spent his final days in Washington DC cut off from his legions of supporters – banned by Twitter and Facebook; with a virtually empty schedule and the lowest approval rating of any President, according to the Pew Research Centre.
While millions of Americans tuned in to watch his successor, Joe Biden, be sworn in as the nation's 46th President – giving what one news anchor deemed "the best inaugural address I ever heard" – Trump greeted a small crowd of about 200 before boarding Air Force One with his family and members of the media.
"It was sort of a sad and pathetic sight," Jim Acosta, who led CNN's coverage of the 74-year-old during his presidency, told the network's Reliable Sources.
"I've never seen him this alone the entire time he was at the level of presidential politics."
Roaming the increasingly empty White House "like a ghost" in his last week of power, Trump was "consumed" with thoughts of the "one and only election he ever lost", when to leave Washington, whether to pardon his family and what he would do when he got to Florida, his new home, Politico's Anita Kumar, Gabby Orr and Meredith McGraw wrote in an article last week.
"His last days were quiet. He insisted he was working … But he wasn't really working. He was disappearing," the article reads.
"He was a man, a leader, a President almost unrecognisable to those who had watched him over the past four years. Diminished. Adrift. Sullen."
Current and former aides and Republican allies described Trump's "final days in office as a countdown to oblivion – with the energy of the once-chaotic West Wing draining away while signs heralding the coming of his replacement appeared outside their windows".
"In the last days, the man who had imposed himself so relentlessly on the public – whose all-hour tweetstorms and rants troubled our sleep and harried our days – faded from view into a gloomy purgatory of his own design."
It marked a definitive change of mood from the days in the White House after the election, when New York magazine's Washington correspondent Olivia Nuzzi described Trump's refusal to acknowledge he'd lost the election and "frustrated" staff had succumbed to "petty infighting".
"The visibly frustrated and angry President had been glued to the television, tweeting and complaining that not enough people were defending his claim that the election had been stolen from him," CNN reported at the time.
But one CBS correspondent also noted that the atmosphere had become sombre, with "a lot of the desks" emptied and a "spooky" feeling – a harbinger of what was to come in the following months.
"When it comes to how his own staff and his own advisers and his own allies feel, he's never been less feared than he is right now," Nuzzi said on December 9.
Had the final weeks of Trump's presidency not involved him instigating a deadly attack of the US Capitol on January 6 – a last-ditch attempt by his most loyal supporters, spurred by their leader's own inflammatory words and behaviour, to overturn the election results – and a historic second impeachment, things could've been very different.
"Essentially what we saw was the undoing of the Trump presidency," Acosta said.
"What we saw the President build over the course of four or five years out on the campaign trail and over at the White House just sort of unravelled at the end."
Former Trump campaign spokesman and White House official Hogan Gidley told Showtime's The Circus that Trump's final days were a "black eye" for his presidency.
"I don't want to guess or try to put thoughts in his head or words in his mouth. All I can do is look at what he said in real time," Gidley said.
"I don't know if he regrets anything or not."
Trump may have been sad and alone last week, but the "lord of lies", as Acosta called him, won't lie low for long, he said.
"While he's still licking his wounds down in Mar-a-Lago, he poses a threat to this country," Acosta said.
"This is not a time to put away our fact checkers in some sort of box on a shelf. They're going to be needed to fact-check this movement. Trump may be going away, but Trumpism is not."