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Trump wishes Biden success, says “movement he started not over”

Author: CNN | Published: Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Outgoing US President Donald Trump

Outgoing U.S President Donald Trump –while praising his administration’s successes –has asserted that “the movement we started is only just beginning.”

In a video message released online on Tuesday afternoon by the White House, Trump said: “We did what we came here to do — and so much more.”

Trump touted having not started any new foreign wars and adopting a tough stance on China. And he took credit for a resurgent US economy, even though it has slowed during the coronavirus pandemic, which he termed the “China virus.”

His only mention of the 400,000 American lives lost to the virus was to say he grieved them and pledged “in their memory to wipe out this horrible pandemic once and for all.”

Trump recorded the message late Monday with a skeleton staff. Unlike most of his predecessors in the television era, a live prime-time farewell address attempting to polish what has become a badly tarnished legacy is no longer in the cards.

“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.”

That sentiment was something Trump’s advisers were hoping he would voice in his final weeks in office. In the video, Trump described his accomplishments and said he worked arduously for the American people.

He framed his presidency as one that championed the forgotten and made no apologies for his brazen approach to politics.

“This week, we inaugurate a new administration and pray for its success in keeping America safe and prosperous,” he said.

“America is not a timid nation of tame souls who need to be sheltered and protected from those with whom we disagree,” he went on.

The speech made no mention of Biden by name but did allude to the violence at the Capitol earlier this month.

“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,” he said.

Trump’s aides have attempted to keep him away from any situation that could aggravate the situation further after inciting riot mob that stormed the US Capitol.

On his last full day as president, Trump was taking exit meetings with aides, posing for photos in the Oval Office, keeping tabs on his carefully planned departure ceremony and receiving briefings from the Secret Service on security for an inauguration he does not plan on attending.

His schedule was empty except for the notice he dictated himself weeks ago asserting he’d “work from early in the morning until late in the evening” and “make many calls and have many meetings.”

But Trump has mostly dismissed the traditions that go along with leaving office. He has not contacted Biden and will be the first president in 150 years to boycott his successor’s inauguration.

Trump once marvelled at the reception he received from President Barack Obama, who met with him in the Oval Office after the 2016 election and welcomed him to the White House on the morning of his inauguration.

In 2017, Trump liked to show visitors the letter Obama wrote to him and left in the top drawer of the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.

It wasn’t clear whether Trump would reciprocate that gesture. Aides said he hasn’t written one yet.

His vice president, Mike Pence was scheduled to convene a final meeting of the coronavirus task force.

On Monday, trucks from a Washington-based moving company pulled up at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s South Florida club, as his nights remaining in the White House dwindled to just hours.

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