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Jan. 19, 2021, 5:06 p.m. EST

Trump’s movement ‘only just beginning,’ president says in farewell address

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Chris Matthews

President Donald Trump released a recorded valedictory address Tuesday afternoon summarizing his accomplishments and promising supporters that his political movement will continue even after he’s out of power.

“Now, 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,” the president said .

“There’s never been anything like it,” he continued.  “The belief that a nation must serve its citizens will not dwindle but instead only grow stronger by the day.”

The president’s speech focused on his administration’s accomplishments, which he said include building “the greatest economy in the history of the world,” rallying nations to “stand up to China like never before” and encouraging Israel’s normalization of relations with Arab states, including Bahrain and United Arab Emirates.

“I am especially proud to be the first president in decades who has started no new wars,” Trump said, though the president has ordered numerous military strikes in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and other places.

The president also made what appeared to be a veiled criticism of social-media companies that have suspended his accounts after the riotous invasion of the Capitol on Jan. 6. The House of Representatives impeached the president for inciting insurrection and Facebook Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite FB +2.58% and Twitter Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203180645/composite TWTR +0.30% have suspended his accounts as a result.

“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,” Trump said. “It’s not even thinkable.  Shutting down free and open debate violates our core values and most enduring traditions.”

Trump will reportedly make a final appearance as president at 8 a.m. Wednesday before departing from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. He has stated that he will not attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. It will be the first time a living ex-president did not attend the inauguration of his successor in roughly 150 years.

Vice President Mike Pence will not attend Trump’s farewell event, with the Washington Post reporting that logistical challenges prevent him from attending that speech and Biden’s inauguration.

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