President Donald J. Trump giving his farewell address at the White House. (Photo: The White House)
WASHINGTON: 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.