In a pre-taped farewell address, President Donald Trump tried to reframe his checkered time in office and told his supporters that the Trump “movement” is “only just beginning.”
“We are—and must always be—a land of hope, of light and of glory to all the world,” Trump said in the video taped Monday and released by the White House press office on Tuesday. “This week, we inaugurate a new administration and pray for its success in keeping America safe and prosperous.”
Since losing his re-election bid, Trump has frequently turned to White House-produced video messages, rather than holding news conferences and other addresses attended by reporters.
President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn into office at noon Wednesday. Trump will not be attending the inauguration—marking a reversal from long-standing tradition. Instead, Trump will address supporters in the morning before heading to his home in Florida, where he will reside post-presidency. Vice President Mike Pence, who was spotted at the White House Tuesday, is scheduled to attend Biden’s inauguration but won’t attend Trump’s send-off event.
Trump, who spent months refusing to concede the election, didn’t mention Biden by name in his nearly 20-minute farewell address, but said he wishes the new administration luck. He hasn’t spoken to Biden, won’t take part in a customary White House welcoming of the Bidens and has even resisted saying Biden’s name when finally acknowledging that there would be an incoming administration.
Trump reversed his efforts to overturn the election outcome after a mob of his supporters led a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol, temporarily halting Congress’ efforts to certify the election. In his farewell speech, Trump acknowledged “disagreements” in the nation and again denounced the riot.
“All Americans were horrified by the assault on our Capitol. Political violence is an attack on everything we cherish as Americans,” Trump said. “It can never be tolerated.”
But Trump had addressed his supporters at a mass rally before the riots and urged them to go to the Capitol. He’s since been impeached by the U.S. House for his role in encouraging the mob. The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on whether to convict him and permanently bar him from seeking public office in the future—a potentially stinging rebuke as he prepares to leave the White House.
In his farewell, Trump touted his record and noted that his administration was the first in decades that didn’t start a new war.
“The greatest danger we face is a loss of confidence in ourselves—a loss of confidence in our national greatness,” Trump said. “No nation can long thrive that loses faith in its own values, history, and heroes—for these are the very sources of our unity and our vitality.”