With his first term in the rear-view mirror, President Donald Trump delivered his farewell address—despite the fact that a Democrat impeachment do-over promises to keep him in the spotlight at least during the early days of the Biden administration.
The pre-recorded address was initially expected to be released on Wednesday, but after advance excerpts leaked in outlets like Bloomberg and the Washington Post, the White House appeared to have decided to jump the gun in order to avoid letting leftist media spin the narrative.
“As I conclude my term as the 45th President of the United States, I stand before you truly proud of what we have achieved together,” he said, according to the official White House transcript. “We did what we came here to do—and so much more.”
The tone offered a rare level of introspection at times, more conciliatory than the assertive, confident yet combative style that characterized his rhetorical approach.
“As President, my top priority, my constant concern, has always been the best interests of American workers and American families,” he said.
“I did not seek the easiest course; by far, it was actually the most difficult,” he continued. “I did not seek the path that would get the least criticism. I took on the tough battles, the hardest fights, the most difficult choices because that’s what you elected me to do. Your needs were my first and last unyielding focus.”
But Trump also hinted that he had no plans to go anywhere with anxieties, tensions and partisan divisions at an all-time high, despite the historic progress he pursued, which Democrats and the elite establishment fought every inch of the way.
“Now, as I prepare to hand power over to a new administration at noon on Wednesday, I want you to know that the movement we started is only just beginning,” Trump promised.
Trump will, however, be the first president in more than 150 years not to partake in his successor’s transition in the wake of widespread suspicions and evidence of massive vote fraud that contributed to a violent demonstration at the US Capitol on Jan. 6.
Instead, he will head to Maryland’s Joint Base Andrews for his own departure ceremony.
Longtime GOP allies—including House and Senate minority leaders Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.—will remain in Washington, DC, to break bread with the incoming administration.
The tumultuous end to Trump’s term mirrored its beginning, when President-in-waiting Joe Biden and other members of the Obama administration actively sought to undermine Trump’s presidency by spreading false allegations of Russian collusion.
But despite the acrimony, Trump wished his successor well.
“We extend our best wishes,” Trump said, without mentioning Biden by name, “and we also want them to have luck—a very important word.”
While Democrats and other resistance agents played a large part in Trump’s own misfortunes, it was the arrival of the coronavirus in early 2020 that sent his hopes of coasting to a second term crashing down.
Trump highlighted many of his achievements both before and since the milestone, which included the unprecedented stock market gains and other measures of prosperity.
He touted his successful trade negotiations, his track-record for achieving peace and de-escalating international conflicts, and the record-breaking pace with which he mobilized private enterprises to develop multiple coronavirus vaccines.
Trump also, once again, condemned the violence at the US Capitol and called for greater unity.
“Political violence is an attack on everything we cherish as Americans. It can never be tolerated,” he said. ”
“Now more than ever, we must unify around our shared values and rise above the partisan rancor, and forge our common destiny,” he added.
Even though he exits with few Americans expressing optimism and hope for a brighter tomorrow, and many feeling that the country’s best days are behind, Trump said his defining achievement was re-empowering the American people to take control of their destiny.
And he called on its loyal citizenry to maintain their spirit of perseverance and belief in the values that define America.
“As the world’s most powerful nation, America faces constant threats and challenges from abroad. But the greatest danger we face is a loss of confidence in ourselves, a loss of confidence in our national greatness,” he said.
“A nation is only as strong as its spirit,” he continued. “We are only as dynamic as our pride. We are only as vibrant as the faith that beats in the hearts of our people.”