US Politics

Donald Trump says his 'movement' is 'only just beginning' in farewell address to the United States

Donald Trump has been acquitted on charges of inciting the deadly 6 January Capitol riots. Source: WHITE HOUSE

President Donald Trump will become the first president in over 100 years to depart the capital ahead of their successor's inauguration.

Donald Trump has delivered his final address to the United States before leaving the White House, telling his supporters "the movement we started is only just beginning".

Leaving Washington before Joe Biden's inauguration, the Republican incumbent is expected to fly to Florida and will become the first outgoing president in more than a century to skip the induction of his successor.

During his pre-recorded address, Mr Trump declined to mention Mr Biden by name.

"This week, we inaugurate a new administration and pray for its success in keeping America safe and prosperous," he said in the video.

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"We extend our best wishes, and we also want them to have luck — a very important word."

Mr Biden's inauguration has been clouded in the events of 6 January, which saw supporters of Mr Trump storm the 117th United States Congress held at the Capitol, in an attempt to overturn his defeat in the presidential election.

Trump supporters holding a 'Stop The Steal' rally at the US Capitol on 6 January.
Trump supporters holding a 'Stop The Steal' rally at the US Capitol on 6 January.
Getty Images

Reflecting on his presidency, Mr Trump said he "came to Washington as the only true outsider ever to win the presidency."

"I had not spent my career as a politician, but as a builder looking at open skylines and imagining infinite possibilities," he said.

"I ran for President because I knew there were towering new summits for America just waiting to be scaled."

Mr Trump campaigned on a pledge to "Make America Great Again" but leaves office with nearly 400,000 people dead of the coronavirus whose risk he downplayed, an economy struggling from the pandemic, and relationships strained with key US allies.

"The greatest danger we face is a loss of confidence in ourselves, a loss of confidence in our national greatness," Mr Trump said.

"America is not a timid nation of tame souls who need to be sheltered and protected from those with whom we disagree."

Mr Trump has been holed up at the White House for the final weeks of his term, reeling after the riot by his supporters at the Capitol that left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer.

The stampede, which followed a rally in which Mr Trump repeated false allegations of election fraud, has overshadowed any efforts to emphasise the president's legacy in his final days in office.

Mr Trump, who leaves amid deep divisions in the country, acknowledged the Capitol riots, which in the immediate aftermath of the violence on 6 January he was slow to condemn.

"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," he said.

Mr Trump is expected to spend his last 24-hours in office issuing a slew of pardons.

"Thank you for this extraordinary privilege. And that’s what it is — a great privilege and a great honour," he said.

"Together with millions of hardworking patriots across this land, we built the greatest political movement in the history of our country.

"We also built the greatest economy in the history of the world. It was about 'America First' because we all wanted to make America great again."

Additional reporting from Reuters and AAP.

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