On his last full day in office President Trump released a farewell address. It opened by acknowledging the inauguration tomorrow of a “new administration.” Without mentioning Biden by name, Trump said, “We extend our best wishes and we also want them to luck, a very important word.”
It’s not completely clear what Trump meant by that but my guess is that it’s a reference to the pandemic which put an end to a booming economy in an election year and probably doomed Trump’s chances at re-election. I think this is Trump’s way of saying I hope you have better luck than I did. More on that in a moment.
Trump moved on to offer thanks to a long list of people including the First Lady and the rest of his family. He thanked VP Pence and everyone else who was part of his administration. He also thanked the Secret Service saying, “my family and I will forever be in your debt.”
Trump made a brief reference to the riot at the Capitol saying “Political violence is an attack on everything we cherish as Americans.” He then moved on to a retrospective of his time in office.
“Four years ago I came to Washington as the only true outsider ever to win the presidency,” he said. He added, “America had given me so much and I wanted to give something back.” He then said his administration wasn’t about right or left but “the good of the nation, and that means the whole nation.”
Trump then offered a list of his greatest hits including tax cuts, new trade deals and a booming economy. He pointed to the new trade agreement with China and said, “But before the ink was even dry, we and the whole world got hit with the China virus.” The use of that phrase isn’t going to go over well in Beijing or in DC newsrooms.
Speaking of the economy prior to that interruption by the virus, Trump said “We built the greatest economy in the history of the world. We reignited America’s job creation and achieved record low unemployment for African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans, women, almost everyone. Incomes soared, wages boomed, the American dream was restored and millions were lifted from poverty in just a few short years. It was a miracle.”
Turning back to the virus Trump said, “When our nation was hit with the pandemic we produced not one but two vaccines with record-breaking speed and more will quickly follow. They said it couldn’t be done but we did it. They called it a medical miracle…We grieve for every life lost and we pledge in their memory to wipe out this horrible pandemic once and for all.”
Trump eventually moved on to his legacy on the courts. “We confirmed three new Justices of the Unites States Supreme Court. We appointed nearly 300 federal judges to interpret our constitution as written.”
“We achieved the most secure border in U.S. history,” Trump said. He added, “We proudly leave the next administration with the strongest and most robust border security measures ever put in place. This includes historic agreements with Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador along with more than 450 miles of powerful new wall.”
“The world respects us again,” Trump said, “Please. Don’t. Lose. That respect.”
Trump then mentioned the destruction of ISIS and the killing of “the world’s top terrorist, Iranian butcher Qassem Soleimani.” That line should resonate strongly in Tehran. He went on to praise the Abraham Accords which normalized relations between the UAE, Bahrain and Israel. Morocco and Sudan later followed suit.
That last part of the speech had to do with Trump vision of America as a place that was in danger of losing its confidence in its own greatness. He spoke about the need to maintain that confidence and to allow for robust freedom of speech. “America is not a timid nation of tame souls who need to be sheltered and protected from those with whom we disagree. That’s not who we are. It will never be who we are,” he said.
Trump said the image that would stick with him was the people who came out to greet his motorcade with their families, waving American flags. “I knew that they did not just come out to show their support of me. They came out to show me their support and love for our country,” he said.
“I go from this majestic place with a loyal and joyful heart, an optimist spirit and a supreme confidence that for our country and for our children the best is yet to come. Thank you and farewell. God bless you. God bless the Unites States of America.”
Here’s the full speech: