Donald Trump says he will “pray for the success” of Joe Biden’s administration but that the political movement he created “is only just beginning”.
Before he leaves office tomorrow, the outgoing president said in his farewell address that everyone in the US had been “horrified” by the rioting at the Capitol in Washington DC earlier this month.
He said: “Political violence is an attack on everything we cherish as Americans. It can never be tolerated.”
He added: “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.
“The belief that a nation must serve its citizens will not dwindle but instead only grow stronger by the day.”
In his speech, he listed his achievements including building “the greatest economy” ever, securing historic peace deals in the Middle East, getting NATO members to contribute more financially, rallying nations to stand up to China “like never before”, and not starting any new wars.
“We did what we came here to do – and so much more,” he claimed.
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Mr Trump also said he would pray for the success of the new administration in keeping America safe and prosperous, but he did not mention Joe Biden by name.
He went on: “Our agenda was not about right or left, it wasn’t about Republican or Democrat, but about the good of a nation, and that means the whole nation.”
He said his administration had “restored American strength at home – and American leadership abroad”, and it “built the greatest economy in the history of the world”.
He expressed criticism for NATO, saying other countries had not been paying their fair share before he arrived in the White House.
He said: “We reclaimed our sovereignty by standing up for America at the United Nations and withdrawing from the one-sided global deals that never served our interests. And NATO countries are now paying hundreds of billions of dollars more than when I arrived just a few years ago.
“It was very unfair. We were paying the cost for the world. Now the world is helping us.”
Under his leadership, Mr Trump claimed the US had “revitalised our alliances and rallied the nations of the world to stand up to China like never before”.
Speaking about the pandemic, he attacked the “China virus”, saying before COVID “billions and billions of dollars were pouring into the US, but the virus forced us to go in a different direction”.
And on global peace agreements he said: “As a result of our bold diplomacy and principled realism, we achieved a series of historic peace deals in the Middle East. It is the dawn of a new Middle East and we are bringing our soldiers home.”
He also said he was “especially proud” to be the first president in decades who has “started no new wars”.
Mr Trump will not attend tomorrow’s inauguration – the first outgoing president to skip the ceremony since Andrew Johnson more than a century and a half ago.
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Before leaving Delaware for Washington DC, Mr Biden addressed dozens of supporters in an emotional sendoff in the state where he was a senator for decades.
His voice shaking, he said: “When I die, Delaware will be written on my heart.
“It’s deeply personal that our next journey to Washington starts here, a place that defines the very best of who we are as Americans.”
As the US exceeded 400,000 coronavirus deaths, the president-elect said: “These are dark times. But there’s always light.”
He flew to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on a chartered plane.
This was in contrast to his predecessor, who arrived at the base in 2017 on a government aircraft.