President Donald Trump speaks from the White House on Jan. 12. Trump issued a farewell video address on Tuesday.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP on Tuesday issued a farewell video address in which he stated accomplishments he would like to be remembered for while skirting over topics like impeachment and the U.S. coronavirus death toll.
“I took on the tough battles, the hardest fights, the most difficult choices – because that’s what you elected me to do,” he said in the nearly 20-minute video released on his last full day in office.
Farewell traditions have fallen by the wayside for Trump. Past presidents delivered live, prime-time farewell addresses, but the president has burned bridges with news networks and been banned from social media platforms over fears he could incite violence.
Trump in the video touted heightened border security, tough action on China, and “the greatest economy in the history of the world,” acknowledging the economic damage done by the coronavirus only to note that his administration “launched the fastest economic recovery our country has ever seen.”
“Incomes soared. Wages boomed. The American dream was restored,” Trump said.
Speaking from a teleprompter, a restrained Trump wished Joe Biden luck but did not acknowledge his successor by name. He just once mentioned the lives lost due to the coronavirus pandemic, which topped 400,000 on Tuesday,
Trump also steered clear of his two impeachments – the latest for his role in encouraging his supporters to go to the U.S. Capitol, where they broke through police barriers and forced the building into lockdown, resulting in at least five deaths.
He denounced political violence as “an attack on everything we cherish as Americans” in the video.
Trump previously defended his speech ahead of the riots – in which he told his supporters to go to the Capitol and call on leaders to “take back our country” – as “totally appropriate.”
Striking an upbeat tone that comes at the end of the tumultuous few weeks, Trump in the video said the “future will be brighter than ever before.”
“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 said. “There’s never been anything like it.”
The president, who has remained mostly out of the public eye since the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, is expected to give remarks Wednesday morning before his departure from Joint Base Andrews. Vice President Mike Pence is not expected to attend Trump’s send-off as he will be going to Biden’s inauguration.