President Donald Trump, set to depart office Wednesday, released a video bidding farewell to the country, largely aimed at his supporters.
“We built the greatest political movement in the history of this country,” he said in classic Trump hyperbole. “The movement we started is only just beginning...We achieved more than anyone thought possible.”
He praised himself as “the only true outsider to ever win the presidency.”
“We did what we came here to do and so much more,” he said of his administration’s efforts to “make America great again,” echoing his longtime campaign slogan.
He hands over the Oval Office at a grim juncture. Deaths from the coronavirus, which Trump referred to in his final address as “the China virus,” surpassed 400,000 on Tuesday, and the American economy has not recovered from the shock of the pandemic. He lauded his administration’s response to COVID-19, particularly the development of multiple vaccines against the virus.
Trump faces an unprecedented second impeachment trial, and more than 20,000 members of the National Guard are stationed in Washington, D.C., in anticipation of violence during President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Trump tweeted the 20-minute video via the official White House Twitter account, as his personal handle, @RealDonaldTrump, was banned in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. After he leaves office, he will still face an impeachment trial in the Senate on charges of inciting an insurrection for his role in encouraging his supporters to march on the Capitol building.
“All Americans were horrified by the assault on our Capitol. Political violence is an attack on everything we cherish as Americans. It can never be tolerated,” he said in the address.
Trump plans to fly to Florida Wednesday before Biden is inaugurated, the first time an outgoing president has declined to attend his successor’s induction ceremony in more than a century.
Vice President Mike Pence tweeted his goodbye: “Thank you for the privilege of serving as your Vice President these past four years, it has been the greatest honor of my life.”