Eschewing a traditional prime-time address to say goodbye to the nation, President Donald Trump released a 20-minute prerecorded message to the nation on the eve of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Trump is set to become the first sitting president in over a century to not attend the inauguration of his successor. Trump will instead have a ceremony for former staff at Joint Base Andrews Wednesday morning before departing for Florida.
Trump did not acknowledge Biden’s victory in the 2020 election until after the Jan. 6 riots at the US Capitol. Five people died amid the violence after a mob of Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to disrupt the counting of Electoral College votes. For two months, Trump continuously claimed the election was stolen from him, which was disputed by dozens of judges, some of whom appointed by Trump.
Trump decried the violence caused by his supporters during his address on Tuesday.
“All Americans were horrified by the assault on our Capitol,” Trump said. “Political violence is an attack on everything we cherish as Americans. It can never be tolerated.”
Trump boasted about his administration’s accomplishments during his address.
“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 added.
Trump has yet to called the Biden administration by name. Meanwhile, Trump is expected to release a list of presidential pardons on Tuesday.
As Trump is set to leave office, he will be doing so without his Twitter account, which often was how Trump made major policy and personnel announcements. Twitter blocked Trump from the platform after the company accused Trump of inciting violence following the Capitol riot.
“Only if we forget who we are and how we got here could we allow political censorship and blacklisting to take place in America,” Trump said. "It's not even thinkable shutting down free and open debate violates our core values and most enduring traditions."
On the same day as his farewell address, the US surpassed 400,000 coronavirus-related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The US leads the world in COVID-19 deaths and cases.
Trump, however, credited his administration for the approval of two coronavirus vaccines that began being distributed last month.
“When our nation was hit with the terrible pandemic, we produce not one but two vaccines with record-breaking speed and more will quickly follow,” Trump said. “They said it couldn’t be done but we did it. They called it a ‘medical miracle.’”