Donald Trump said the movement he had launched as US president “has only just begun,” acknowledging the impending transfer of power while avoiding any reference to President-elect Joe Biden by name in a farewell speech by the White House.
In his last prerecorded remarks released before leaving the US capital for Florida on Wednesday, Mr. Trump touted his administration’s accomplishments and the personal role he has played in everything from his trade war with China to Covid-19 pandemic.
“I’ve faced the toughest battles, the toughest fights, the toughest choices – because that’s what you elected me for,” Trump said Tuesday, saying he was “the only one a real outsider to have never won the presidency ”.
He said his administration had “restored American strength at home and American leadership abroad.”
“The world respects us again – please don’t lose that respect,” he said.
Mr. Trump also stressed his strong stance on China and his role in overseeing what he called “a series of historic peace deals in the Middle East“.
“I am particularly proud to be the first president in decades not to have started a new war,” he added.
Mr. Trump briefly referred to the violence which engulfed the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, but failed to acknowledge the role he himself played in the events leading up to the attack, including questioning the veracity of the results of the November elections and encouraging protesters to march to the home of the US Congress. Mitch McConnell, the Republican Majority Leader in the Senate, accused the President and others of having “Provoked” the rioters earlier Tuesday.
“All Americans were horrified by the assault on our Capitol,” said Mr. Trump. “Political violence is an attack on everything we hold dear as Americans. It can never be tolerated. More than ever, we must unite around our common values, rise above partisan grudges and shape our common destiny.
At another point, he said that “above all” his administration had “reaffirmed the sacred idea that in America the government responds to the people.”
Mr. Trump repeatedly acknowledged during the speech that he was preparing to “hand over power to a new administration on Wednesday at noon.”
“[We] pray for [the new administration’s] success in keeping America safe and prosperous, ”he said, not to mention Mr. Biden. “We also want them to be lucky – a very important word.”