President Donald Trump acknowledged that a new administration will take office on Wednesday and wished them luck, but did not formally concede his election loss or explicitly say President-elect Joe Biden’s name in a 20-minute farewell speech posted to the White House’s YouTube channel.
“This week, we inaugurate a new administration and pray for its success in keeping America safe and prosperous. We extend our best wishes, and we also want them to have luck — a very important word,” Trump said at the beginning of his address on Tuesday.
Trump, breaking with tradition, will not meet with Biden before the inauguration or attend his inauguration ceremony. Instead, Trump will hold his own departure ceremony at Joint Base Andrews on Wednesday morning before flying to his home in Palm Beach, Florida.
The president thanked a number of his family members and top administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence. The relationship between Trump and Pence was greatly strained after Trump attacked and pressured the vice president, albeit unsuccessfully, into overturning the results of the 2020 election. Pence does not have the power to do so.
The end of Trump’s presidency has been overshadowed by the dark cloud of the January 6 insurrection on the US Capitol, which threatened the lives of Pence and members of Congress. Five people were killed in the violence that broke out when a massive crowd of the president’s supporters breached the building while a joint session of Congress was certifying Biden’s win.
“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. Now more than ever, we must unify around our shared values and rise above the partisan rancor and forge our common destiny,” Trump said of the violence he has been impeached for inciting.
Trump also spent a fair bit of his address rounding up what he views as the administration’s top accomplishments in office, and left the door open for the future.
“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. There’s never been anything like it,” Trump said.
He added: “I go from this majestic place with a loyal and joyful heart, an optimistic spirit, and a supreme confidence that for our country and for our children, the best is yet to come.”