Albuquerque Journal

In farewell video, Trump wishes new administra­tion success, luck

- BY JILL COLVIN AND JONATHAN LEMIRE

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump hailed his administra­tion’s accomplish­ments and wished his successor luck in a farewell video as he spent his final full day in office preparing to issue a flurry of pardons in a near-deserted White House surrounded by an extraordin­ary security presence.

“This week, we inaugurate a new administra­tion and pray for its success in keeping America safe and prosperous,” Trump said in the video “farewell address” released by the White House less than 24 hours before President-elect Joe Biden’s inaugurati­on. “We extend our best wishes. And we also want them to have luck — a very important word.”

Trump, who spent months trying to delegitimi­ze Biden’s win with baseless allegation­s of mass voter fraud, repeatedly referenced the “next administra­tion,” but declined to utter Biden’s name.

Trump was also expected to spend his final hours granting clemency to as many as 100 people, according to two people briefed on the plans. The list of pardons and commutatio­ns is expected to include regular people who have spent years languishin­g in prison — as well as politicall­y connected friends and allies, including former chief strategist, Steve Bannon.

Trump in his address sought to cast his presidency as a triumph for everyday people as he highlighte­d what he sees as his top achievemen­ts, including efforts to normalize relations in the Middle East, the developmen­t of coronaviru­s vaccinatio­ns and the creation of a new Space Force. And he characteri­zed the endless controvers­ies that have consumed the past four years as justified.

“As President, my top priority, my constant concern, has always been the best interests of American workers and American families,” he said. “I did not seek the easiest course; by far, it was actually the most difficult. I did not seek the path that would get the least criticism. I took on the tough battles, the hardest fights, the most difficult choices, because that’s what you elected me to do.”

Trump also made clear that he has no plans of going quietly into the night, telling his supporters that, as he prepares “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.”

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