“I did not seek the easiest course. By far, it was actually the most difficult,” Trump said as he reflected on his presidency.
The president spoke for nearly 20 minutes in a pre-recorded video released on YouTube Tuesday afternoon prior to his departure from the White House on Wednesday morning.
“I did not seek the path that would get the least criticism,” he continued. “I took on the tough battles, the hardest fights, the most difficult choices because that’s what you elected me to do.”
Trump spoke about the nature of his presidency, describing himself as the first “true outsider” to get elected that believed that the United States government should work for its citizens first.
“I fought for you. I fought for your family. I fought for your country,” he said.
The president did not use President-elect Joe Biden’s name in his statement, referring to him only as part of an incoming “new administration.”
He said he would pray for the administration’s success to keep America “safe and prosperous.”
“And we also want them to have luck, a very important word,” he continued.
The president condemned the riots on Capitol Hill after he urged supporters to protest the 2020 presidential election, which was later certified for Biden.
“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 that Americans should rise above the “partisan rancor” in the ongoing debate over ideas and unite for the sake of the country.
“We must never forget that while Americans will always have our disagreements, we are a nation of incredible, decent, faithful, and peace-loving citizens who all want our country to thrive and flourish,” he said.
That debate, he noted, should not be censored, as he alluded to social media companies suspended his accounts.
“At the center of this heritage is also a robust belief in free expression, free speech, and open debate,” he said.
He continued, “Only if we forget who we are and how we got here could we ever allow political censorship and blacklisting to take place in America. It’s not even thinkable.”
Trump spoke about his many accomplishments before the country was “hit with the China virus” including unprecedented domestic achievements on trade, economic growth, and energy production.
“The American dream was restored and millions were lifted from poverty in just a few short years,” Trump said. “It was a miracle.”
He also spoke about fixing broken trade deals, withdrawing from the Paris climate accords, the Iran nuclear deal, and putting tariffs on China which resulted in the first stages of a trade deal.
Trump also celebrated his achievements on border security.
“For years, the American people pleaded with Washington to finally secure the nation’s borders. I’m pleased to say we answered that plea and achieved the most secure border in US history.”
He also spoke about his efforts to bring the troops home from foreign wars and his achievements in improving medical care for military veterans.
“I am especially proud to be the first president in decades who has started no new wars,” he said.
The president did not speak about his political future but said the America First movement that he started was “only just beginning.”
“There’s never been anything like it,” he said.
Trump said that he did everything that he came to Washington to do and “so much more.”
“I go from this majestic place with a loyal and joyful heart and optimistic spirit, and a supreme confidence that, for our country and for our children, the best is yet to come,” he concluded. “Thank you and farewell.”