Trump reflects on his presidential record in farewell speech, extends best wishes to Biden

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive to speak to supporters prior to boarding Air Force One to head to Florida on January 20, 2021, in Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. Trump, the first president in more than 150 years to refuse to attend his successor's inauguration, is expected to spend the final minutes of his presidency at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive to speak to supporters prior to boarding Air Force One to head to Florida on January 20, 2021, in Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. Trump, the first president in more than 150 years to refuse to attend his successor's inauguration, is expected to spend the final minutes of his presidency at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. | Pete Marovich - Pool/Getty Images

In a farewell video released Tuesday, outgoing President Donald Trump reflected on his four years in office and assured his supporters that while his administration is coming to a close, the movement he started will continue for the foreseeable future.

“Four years ago, we launched a great national effort to rebuild our country, to renew its spirit and to restore the allegiance of this government to its citizens,” he recalled. “We did what we came here to do and so much more.”

“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 belief that a nation must serve its citizens will not dwindle but instead, only grow stronger by the day. As long as the American people hold in their hearts deep and devoted love of country, then there is nothing that this nation cannot achieve.”

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While the president did not mention his successor, President-elect Joe Biden, by name, he did extend well wishes to the incoming 46th president. “This week, we inaugurate a new administration and pray for its success in keeping America safe and prosperous. We extend our best wishes and we also want them to have luck.”

Giving special thanks to his family, Vice President Mike Pence and his family, his cabinet, the Secret Service, the White House Military Office, the United States Armed Forces as well as state and local law enforcement, Trump thanked the American people for the opportunity to serve as president: “To serve as your president has been an honor beyond description. Thank you for this extraordinary privilege.”

“We must never forget that while Americans will always have our disagreements, we are a nation of incredible, decent, faithful and peace-loving citizens who all want our country to thrive and flourish and be very, very successful and good. We are a truly magnificent nation,” he added.

The president also condemned the assault on the U.S. Capitol two weeks ago, describing political violence as “an attack on everything we cherish as Americans,” adding, “It can never be tolerated.” He urged the American people to “unify around our shared values and rise above the partisan rancor and forge our common destiny.”

After summarizing his achievements in the White House — passing "the largest package of tax cuts and reforms in American history," record economic growth, replacing NAFTA with the USMCA, achieving record-low unemployment for African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and women, wage growth, setting stock market records, expanding the child tax credit, rebuilding  manufacturing, criminal justice reform, developing two COVID-19 vaccines, lowering prescription drug prices, allowing veterans to see doctors outside of the VA system, giving terminal patients the right to try unapproved treatments, filling three U.S. Supreme Court vacancies and appointing nearly 300 federal judges, building more than 452 miles of the border wall, creating the Space Force, negotiating Abraham Accords and not starting any new wars — Trump warned that “the greatest danger we face is a loss of confidence in ourselves, a loss of confidence in our national greatness.” 

He added, “A nation is only as strong as its spirit, we are only as dynamic as our pride, we are only as vibrant as the faith that beats in the hearts of our people. No nation can long thrive that loses faith in its own values, history and heroes.”

“These are the very sources of our unity and our vitality. What has always allowed America to prevail and triumph over the great challenges of the past has been an unyielding and unashamed conviction in the nobility of our country and its unique purpose in history. We must never lose this conviction, we must never forsake our belief in America.”

Contending that “the key to national greatness lies in sustaining and instilling our shared national identity,” Trump stressed the importance of “focusing on what we have in common, the heritage that we all share.” He referred to “a robust belief in free expression, free speech and open debate” as “the center of our heritage.”

“Only if we forget who we are and how we got here could we ever allow political censorship and blacklisting to take place in America,” the president asserted. “Shutting down free and open debate violates our core values and most enduring traditions. In America, we don’t insist on absolute conformity or enforce rigid orthodoxies and punitive speech codes.”

Trump rejected the notion that the U.S. was a “timid nation of tame souls who need to be sheltered and protected from those with whom we disagree.” Additionally, he described the U.S. as “a republic of proud citizens who are united by our common conviction that America is the greatest nation in all of history.”

As his speech concluded, Trump remarked that “I go from this majestic place with a loyal and joyful heart, an optimistic spirit and a supreme confidence that for our country and for our children, the best is yet to come.”

The speech came weeks after the social media app Parler, a platform that many Trump supporters and conservatives had begun using in addition to Twitter, was taken down by Amazon, Apple and Google following the Jan 6. riot at the Capitol. These big tech companies accused Parler of allowing those who were at the rally to communicate on its platform. The riot broke out at the Capital as Trump was delivering his speech at the Save America March held at the Ellipse near the White House, over a mile away from the Capitol, that was peacefully attended by hundreds of thousands of his supporters.

After his speech, thousands walked to the Capitol where a separate planned rally was to be held that afternoon. That event, however, never took place because the riot had already ensued.

Those who died at the Capitol include an unarmed woman who was shot by Capitol police as she attempted to climb through a smashed door pane into the House chamber, a woman who was trampled on by the crowds, and Capitol police officer Brian D. Sicknick who died on Jan. 7 after he suffered injuries while responding to the breach. Another Capitol police officer who responded to the riot died by suicide. It’s unknown whether the riot and aftermath contributed to his decision to take his own life. 

Trump's social media accounts were also suspended on Facebook and Twitter indefinitely following the riot, which his critics argued was spurred by his speech. Similarly, Twitter also removed statements Trump posted on the @POTUS account. 

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