On Jan. 20, 2021, President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president, along with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who broke the glass ceiling on her way to this monumental event. She is not only the first woman to take the position of vice president, but she is also the first Black American and first Indian American to hold this office, according to NPR.
While the American people are moving forward into this new political chapter, Donald Trump is closing the book on his, and what a chapter it’s been. In the final few weeks of his presidency, he was accused — and later, impeached for a historic second time — for inciting an insurrection, after his supporters attacked and stormed the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021, leaving five people dead. Trump was quickly banned from several social media platforms.
Now, as Trump leaves office, his words are once again causing a stir and raising eyebrows.
Trump says 'everyone matters and everyone has a voice' in farewell video
On Jan. 19, 2021, Donald Trump made his last public address as president, via video rather than to a live audience. “I stand before you, truly proud of what we have achieved together,” Trump said.
Then Trump said something that had viewers turning their heads. “We did what we came here to do ― and so much more,” Trump began. “Above all, we have reasserted the sacred idea that in America, the government answers to the people. We restored the idea that in America, no one is forgotten ― because everyone matters and everyone has a voice.”
The comment section in the video was, unsurprisingly, turned off. But that doesn’t mean Twitter was quiet about it. One person responded to Trump’s speech by citing Melania Trump’s infamous jacket that she wore to visit a children’s shelter in 2018, according to the BBC. The tweet said: “I really don’t care…do you?”
Another Twitter user made reference to the staggering amount of deaths in America related to the coronavirus pandemic and wrote: “Trump’s accomplishments in 4 years: 400,000 dead. Insurrection. Be GONE.” But this wasn’t the only surprising moment in Trump’s farewell video.
Donald Trump condemns the riots at the U.S. Capitol building
In Donald Trump’s farewell video as the 45th president of the United States, after citing all the reasons how he “made America great again,” he condemned the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Trump said, “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.”
The comment is a strange one, The Washington Post points out, considering Trump’s actions and words on the day of the insurrection. According to the outlet, he was reluctant to tell the rioters to stop because “he was captivated by the spectacle playing out on live television and entranced by the notion that the rioters were fighting for him.” Finally, he made a video instructing the mob to “go home” and said at the end, “We love you.”
Trump’s farewell video marks an abrupt departure from these previous statements and one that mirrors daughter Ivanka Trump’s reaction to the riots on the Capitol. On Jan. 6, 2021, she called them “American Patriots” but quickly deleted the tweet, according to The Guardian. Later, like her father, Ivanka publicly condemned violence, tweeting: “Peaceful protest is patriotic. Violence is unacceptable and must be condemned in the strongest terms.” This back-and-forth reaction to the violence was not lost on anyone, but there’s more to say about Trump’s final farewell video.
Fact-checkers respond to Donald Trump's speech
Donald Trump’s final address to the nation wrapped up what proved to be an extremely contentious term as president. The final address was, in fact, so riddled with inaccuracies that both The Washington Post and The New York Times responded with detailed fact-checking and corrections to many of his more erroneous claims.
Trump said in his speech: “We also built the greatest economy in the history of the world.” To this statement The Washington Post noted that presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Bill Clinton were all presidents during stronger economic times than in Trump’s presidency.
Trump also said, “The whole world suffered but America outperformed other countries economically.” In response, The New York Times noted that while America has made gains in economic recovery, it is by no means in the lead.
In short, Trump’s speech reflected his term in office. It caught media attention, as he was so successful in doing, but it also raised more questions than it answered — and put fact-checkers to work.
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