In a farewell video released on his final full day in office, President Donald Trump offered prayers and best wishes to his successor, Democrat Joe Biden, but without ever mentioning him by name.
“This week, we inaugurate a new administration and pray for its success in keeping America safe and prosperous,” Trump said in the video posted online 20 hours prior to the end of his presidency. “We also extend our best wishes. And we also want them to have luck — a very important word.”
In the nearly 20 minutes of remarks taped on Monday, Trump took credit for creating “the greatest economy in the history of the world.” He also said he was “especially proud to be the first president in decades who has started no new wars.”
As the video was released by the White House on YouTube, a private jet carrying President-elect Biden landed at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, where Trump is to be sent off with a final ceremony Wednesday morning. The president will then make his final flight on Air Force One to the state of Florida.
Trump, breaking with tradition, is skipping the inaugural ceremony for Biden, who won both the popular and electoral votes in last November’s election. Trump falsely declared the polling fraudulent and has not congratulated Biden.
Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to attend the inauguration at a heavily fortified Capitol where Biden is to be sworn in at noon Wednesday, 15 minutes after Kamala Harris takes the oath of office as vice president.
Trump needs only to peer from the window of his third-floor bedroom in the White House to see the reviewing stand set up for the inaugural parade. It is decorated with bunting and banners reading “*2021* BIDEN HARRIS INAUGURATION.”
The parade and related activities have been scaled down or made virtual, due to security fears and the coronavirus pandemic.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to send an article of impeachment against Trump to the Senate later this week. That would initiate formal proceedings the next day and opening arguments on the Senate floor the following week.
The Democrat-controlled House, joined by 10 Republicans, last Wednesday impeached Trump for “incitement of an insurrection” following the January 6 storming of the Capitol just after the president urged his supporters to fight to overturn the results of the election.
"The mob was fed lies,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “They were provoked by the president and other powerful people."
Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro of Texas, who is one of the impeachment trial mangers, told ABC News on Sunday that “one of the other purposes of impeachment in this case is to make sure that President Trump is not able to run for federal office again, that he’s not able to seek the presidency.” He said anyone who “incited a riot, an attempted coup of the United States government, should not be president again.”
Trump has previously indicated he might make another run for president in 2024.
“All Americans were horrified by the assault on our Capitol. Political violence is an attack on everything we cherish as Americans. It can never be tolerated,” Trump said in his farewell video. “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 leaves office as one of the most polarizing presidents in U.S. history. While he still retains strong support among Republican voters, his overall approval rating has hit a record low, according to surveys.
In a Marist Poll taken last week, 16% of respondents characterized Trump as one of the best presidents in U.S. history, while 47% ranked him as one of the worst.
In his final days in office, Trump signed a slew of executive orders on a variety of matters from restricting purchases of foreign-made aerial drones to naming those who are to be honored with statues in a proposed National Garden of American Heroes.
Biden is expected to quickly reverse a significant number of Trump’s executive orders.