United States President Donald Trump wished his successor Joe Biden luck in his farewell speech on Tuesday, the last day in office, breaking a week-long silence. This was also a marked change from his earlier statements that Biden cheated to win the presidency. Biden will assume presidency on Wednesday.
Trump added that he was “especially proud to be the first president in decades who has started no new wars”.
“This week, we inaugurate a new administration and pray for its success in keeping America safe and prosperous,” Trump said in the farewell video released by the White House. “We extend our best wishes, and we also want them to have luck – a very important word.” However, Trump, who has repeatedly claimed that the presidential elections were rigged, did not take Biden’s name in his speech even once.
The outgoing president also spoke about the violence at the Capitol complex, saying that all Americans were horrified by it. “Political violence is an attack on everything we cherish as Americans,” he said. “It can never be tolerated. Now more than ever, we must unify around our shared values and rise above the partisan rancor, and forge our common destiny.”
Trump has mostly not been seen since his supporters stormed the US Capitol building on January 6, leaving at least 5 dead, including a police officer, according to AP. Following the riot, he was banned from various social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. He was also impeached for the second time – the first-ever American president to face the charges twice.
He also tried to downplay various controversies that surrounded him during his presidency, saying that his concern had always been America’s best interests. “I did not seek the easiest course; by far, it was actually the most difficult,” he said. “I did not seek the path that would get the least criticism. I took on the tough battles, the hardest fights, the most difficult choices because that’s what you elected me to do. Your needs were my first and last unyielding focus.”
Trump said his government produced vaccines against the coronavirus swiftly and claimed that it would not have been possible for other presidents to do. “They call it a ‘medical miracle,’ and that’s what they’re calling it right now: a ‘medical miracle’,” he said. “Another administration would have taken 3, 4, 5, maybe even up to 10 years to develop a vaccine. We did in nine months.”
While the outgoing president expressed grief over the lives lost due to the pandemic, he praised his administration for making a quick economic recovery. “When the virus took its brutal toll on the world’s economy, we launched the fastest economic recovery our country has ever seen,” he said. “We passed nearly $4 trillion [over Rs 292 lakh crore] in economic relief, saved or supported over 50 million [5 crore] jobs, and slashed the unemployment rate in half. These are numbers that our country has never seen before.”
Trump also said that his administration created choice and transparency in healthcare, stood up to pharmaceutical giants and passed criminal justice reforms. “We proudly leave the next administration with the strongest and most robust border security measures ever put into place,” he said. “This includes historic agreements with Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, along with more than 450 miles [724.20 km] of powerful new wall.”
Trump is set to leave Washington on Wednesday morning (local time) after a grand farewell event. He is also expected to grant pardons to more than 100 people, according to unidentified officials.
Biden, who will be sworn in as the 46th president, has flown to Washington, AFP reported. Security has been tightened with swarms of National Guard troops ahead of Biden’s inauguration.
Trump has refused to participate in Biden’s inauguration ceremony, making him the first president to do so in a century. He is also yet to personally congratulate Biden on his win or invite him for the customary cup of tea in the Oval Office.