Trump Releases Farewell Message on eve of White House departure
President Donald Trump Tuesday released a farewell video condemning political violence, calling on Americans to "rise above the partisan rancor," and touting some of his administration's greatest accomplishments.
"To serve as your president has been an honor beyond description," Trump said in a nearly 20-minute video shared by the White House. "Thank you for this extraordinary privilege."
Trump touted his administration's tax cuts, trade deals and economic foreign policy.
He also touted the domestic economy, the stock market's performance and the quickly-developed COVID-19 vaccines.
"They called it a medical miracle," he said. "Another administration would've taken three, four, five, maybe even up to 10 years to develop a vaccine. We did it in nine months."
Additionally, he praised his administration's efforts to revive the U.S. economy amid the pandemic and to secure the southern border.
"We proudly leave the next administration with the strongest and most robust border security measures ever put into place," he said.
"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," he said.
Other accomplishments the president noted were the creation of the Space Force, the first launch of astronauts aboard an American rocket since the end of the Space Shuttle program more than a decade ago, and the slayings of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
"I am especially proud to be the first president in decades who has started no new wars," he said. "Above all, we have reasserted that in America, the government answers to the people."
Trump also doubled down on his populist message and praised everyday Americans.
"I did not seek the easiest course, by far it was actually the most difficult," he said. "I took on the tough battles, the hardest fights, the most difficult choices, because that's what you elected me to do."
In a shift toward the future, Trump condemned censorship and groupthink.
"Shutting down free and open debate violates our core values and most enduring traditions," he said. "In America, we don't insist on absolute conformity or enforce rigid orthodoxies and punitive speech codes. We just don't do that."
He said the work of his movement would continue, even as his term comes to an end.
"The movement that we started is only just beginning," he said. "There's never been anything like it. The belief that a nation must serve its citizens will not dwindle."
He praised individual liberty and said it was in that spirit that American pioneers settled the West, that inspired U.S. troops in battle, and that sent astronauts to the moon.
"America is not a timid nation of tame souls who need to be sheltered and protected from those with whom we disagree," he said. "That's not who we are. It will never be who we are."
President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn into office Wednesday at noon.