From ‘Hasta la vista, baby’ to humming after resigning, these political farewells took a comical turn

Boris Johnson signed off his Prime Minister’s Questions for the last time in a bizarre fashion.
The outgoing UK prime minister . The 58-year-old was recently

His famous last words? “Hasta la vista, baby. Thank you.” A Terminator movie reference.

Whether they’re leaving by choice or forced out by their own party, all eyes are on politicians in their final moments.

Some bestow wisdom learned in the gig, others focus on looking forward, and sometimes a comical tidbit is what is remembered most, years on.

Thank you very much. (Humming noises heard).

In 2016, former UK prime minister David Cameron was caught humming a merry tune to himself after announcing his resignation following the Brexit referendum result.

Walking back to No 10 Downing Street, the prime minister’s office, a “do, doo, do, do…right” is heard from Mr Cameron before he takes off his lapel microphone.

Some guessed it was the theme of US television show West Wing, others noticed similarities to a song in Winnie the Pooh. Radio station listeners racked their minds about what intrusive ditty had interrupted the thoughts of a prime minister who had just resigned.

On Twitter, some speculated Mr Cameron’s humming was a sign of calm, content to be handing over the reins in the chaos of Brexit.

But Mr Cameron’s former communications director, Craig Oliver, later offered some insight, sharing it was just a case of nervous humming.

“I asked the PM what the tune was, and he said there wasn’t really one,” Mr Oliver told the BBC. “He was just nervous that someone wasn’t going to re-open the door. There was a very, very pregnant pause before someone opened the door and he thought he might be stranded there.”

Four Seasons … Total Landscaping?

Donald Trump’s lawyer in November 2020, making unfounded claims of electoral fraud.
With a fire extinguisher and a yellow hose framing the podium, Mr Giuliani was notified midway through the press conference that Joe Biden had won the election.
Though not perceived by Mr Giuliani as a farewell speech, it was considered by many onlookers as a tipping point.

The event at Four Seasons Total Landscaping gave birth to countless memes and jokes.

A slight turn of the head at the press conference had you looking at ‘Fantasy Island’, an adult book shop, and across the road was a crematorium.
Initially, Mr Trump had tweeted “Lawyers Press Conference at Four Seasons, Philadelphia. 11:00 A.M”.
He followed up the tweet with a second post “Four Season’s Landscaping!” before sending out another tweet: “Big press conference today in Philadelphia at Four Seasons Total Landscaping — 11:30am!”.
Questions were raised as to whether the former president’s team had mistakenly booked the landscaping firm instead of the lavish Four Seasons Hotel. The whodunit even spurred a documentary trying to make sense of it all.

Among many Google reviews left at the time, one person wrote: “When I was losing an election back in 2004, I knew exactly where to turn for a desperate, last-minute news conference.”

Angela Merkel: Punk fan

She governed for 16 years, but outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel showed she could still surprise the nation.
A week before she stepped aside in December 2021, Ms Merkel was given a traditional military send-off, involving a brass band playing three songs of her choosing.

One of the tunes she chose was a 1970s punk song. Though predecessors tended to go for traditional music — and she followed the trend with her first two choices — it was her third selection that had a local journalist describe it as “the most surreal thing I’ve ever seen”.

What is the song marking the end of the significant era about? A young woman’s lament over her boyfriend who failed to take colour pictures during their beach holiday.

The 1974 song ‘You Forgot the Colour Film’ by East German-born punk singer Nina Hagen, she later shared, was a nod to her youth. Though her expression remained neutral, her head subtly bobbed along to the tune.

Obama mic drop

On his way out in 2017, US leader Barack Obama delivered a teary speech paying tribute to his family. He thanked them for taking on a position they didn’t sign up for and thanked them again for being role models.

But the moment from his farewell rounds that became burned into the zeitgeist came from his final address at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2016, months before.

Man at a podium.

The end to Barack Obama’s speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2016. Credit: Creative Commons

“It has been an honour and a privilege to work side by side to strengthen our democracy and with that, I just have two more words to say,” he said.

“Obama out,” he finished, with a mic drop.

With Reuters.

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