“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 to supporters in the speech videotaped Monday and released Tuesday.
Trump did not mention President-elect Joe Biden by name during the video that ran nearly 20 minutes, but he wished good luck to the new administration in general. “We extend our best wishes,” Trump said, “and we also want them to have luck, a very important word.”
Listing many of his economic and foreign policy actions in office, Trump praised the rising stock market and said he was “proud to be the first president in decades who has started no new wars.”
He criticized the attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters that got him impeached, using much harsher language than he did Jan. 6, the day of the riot.
“Political violence is an attack on everything we cherish as Americans,” he said. “It can never be tolerated.”
Trump’s opponents said they are glad he is saying goodbye.
“Donald Trump was a stain on our country,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said on MSNBC. “I don’t think we could have sustained our democracy if he had two terms in office, for what he was doing to our institutions or for what he was doing to our Constitution. He dishonored it.”
Though Trump called on Americans to “rise above the partisan rancor,” analysts said the president contributed more than his share of negativity to the nation’s political culture.
“Too little, too late,” said David Lapan, a former spokesman for Trump’s Department of Homeland Security. “His words are meaningless now since they contradict much of what he has said and done over the past four years.”
Lapan cited “no acknowledgment that he lost a fair election or remorse for lying about it. He can’t even bring himself to mention Joe Biden by name.”
Trump is scheduled to leave the White House early Wednesday morning, hosting a military send-off ceremony at Joint Base Andrews. If the schedule holds, he will be at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, when his term expires at noon.
Trump is the first president in more than a century-and-a-half to skip the inauguration of his successor.
In his video, Trump thanked his family, the Secret Service and his supporters.
He touted his immigration crackdowns, an “America First” foreign policy that included expansions of trade tariffs and U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, though Biden pledged to rejoin that agreement shortly after he takes office.
The president noted the development of COVID-19 vaccines but not the problems with delivering the medicine. Trump did not mention that more than 400,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the USA within the past year.
Trump exits the White House a week after becoming the first president to be impeached for a second time. An article of impeachment accuses Trump of inciting the Capitol insurrection that left five people dead. The first impeachment was over allegations he pressured the government of Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son.
Trump did not mention either impeachment in his farewell address, instead defining his term in office by saying, “I took on the tough battles.”
The White House released the video at nearly the same time that Biden’s plane touched down at Joint Base Andrews, about 20 hours before his inauguration as the nation’s 46th president.