White House press release, Tuesday, 19. January 2021.
My fellow citizens: Four years ago, we made a major national effort to rebuild our country, renew its spirit and restore this government’s loyalty to its citizens. In short, our mission is to make America great again – for all Americans.
While I complete my term as the 45th president of the United States. Mr President of the United States, I stand here truly proud of what we have achieved together. We did what we came here to do – and more.
This week we open a new administration and pray that it will succeed in keeping America safe and prosperous. We send them our best wishes, and we also want them to be happy – a very important word.
First, I want to thank some of the extraordinary people who made our extraordinary journey possible.
First of all, thank you for the love and support of our wonderful First Lady Melania. I also want to express my deepest gratitude to my daughter Ivanka, my son-in-law Jared and Barron, Don, Eric, Tiffany and Lara. You fill my world with light and joy.
I also want to thank Vice President Mike Pence, his wonderful wife Karen and the entire Pence family.
I also thank my Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, the dedicated White House and Cabinet staff, and all of the incredible people in our administration who put their hearts and souls into fighting for America.
I would also like to take a moment to thank a truly extraordinary group of people, the United States Secret Service. My family and I will forever be in your debt. I also express my deep appreciation to all the White House staff, Marine Corps One and Air Force Corps One, all members of the armed forces, as well as state and local law enforcement agencies in our country.
But most of all, I want to thank the American people. It was an indescribable honor to be your president. We thank you for this extraordinary privilege. And that’s it. A great privilege and a great honor.
We must never forget that we Americans will always have our differences, but we are a nation of incredible, decent, loyal, peace-loving citizens who all want our country to prosper and thrive, to be very, very successful and to do well. We are truly a great nation.
All Americans were shocked by the attack on our Capitol. Political violence is an attack on everything we hold dear as Americans. It cannot be tolerated.
Today, more than ever, we must unite around our common values, rise above partisan grievance and forge our common destiny.
Four years ago, I came to Washington as the only true outsider to ever win the presidency. I spent my career not as a politician but as a builder, with an eye for opening horizons and a vision of infinite possibilities. I ran because I knew there were new high mountain peaks in America just waiting to be climbed. I knew that our nation’s potential was limitless, as long as we put America first.
So I left my old life behind and entered a very challenging arena, but an arena with all kinds of possibilities if you do it right. America has given me so much, and I wanted to give something back.
With millions of hard-working patriots across the country, we have built the largest political movement in our nation’s history. We also built the largest economy in the history of the world. It was America First because we all wanted to make America great again. We have reinstated the principle that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Our program was not about right or left, it was not about Republicans or Democrats, it was about the good of the nation, the whole nation.
With the support and prayers of the American people, we accomplished more than anyone thought possible. No one thought we could even get close.
We passed the largest package of tax cuts and reforms in American history. We have removed more rules for killing jobs than any government. We fixed our broken trade deals, we got out of the horrible Trans-Pacific Partnership and the impossible Paris Climate Agreement, we renegotiated a unilateral agreement with South Korea, and we replaced NAFTA with the USMCA, a historic agreement that includes Mexico and Canada – an agreement that has worked very, very well.
In addition, and this is very important, we have imposed historic and monumental tariffs on China and we have entered into a new agreement with China. But before the ink was dry, we and the world were infected with the Chinese virus. Our trading relationship evolved rapidly, billions and billions of dollars flowed into the United States, but the virus forced us to go in a different direction.
The whole world has suffered, but America has done better economically than other countries because of our incredible economy and the economy we have built. Without the foundations and the stops, it would not have functioned as it did. We wouldn’t have the best rooms we’ve ever had.
We have also developed our energy resources and become the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas. On the basis of these policies, we have built the largest economy in the history of the world. We have brought jobs back to America and achieved record unemployment for African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, women – almost all of them.
Incomes rose, wages rose, the American dream was restored, and millions of people were able to get out of poverty in a few years. It was a miracle. The stock market has set record after record, with 148 spikes in such a short time, and has increased retirement benefits for our country’s hard-working citizens. 401(k) are at levels they’ve never reached before. We have never seen such numbers as before and after the pandemic.
We rebuilt the U.S. manufacturing base, opened thousands of new plants and brought back the good old expression: Made in the United States.
To improve the lives of working families, we doubled the child tax credit and signed the largest expansion of child care and child welfare funds in history. We have worked with the private sector to make commitments to train more than 16 million American workers for the jobs of tomorrow.
When our country was hit by a terrible pandemic, we produced not one, but two vaccines in record time, and more will be on the market in the near future. They said it was impossible, but we did it. They call it a medical miracle, and that’s what they call it now: a medical miracle.
If used differently, it would take 3, 4, 5 or even 10 years to develop a vaccine. We did it in nine months.
We mourn every life lost and in their memory we vow to wipe this terrible pandemic off the face of the earth once and for all.
When the virus hit the global economy hard, it set in motion the fastest economic recovery our country has ever experienced. We have committed nearly $4 trillion to the United Nations Trust Fund in support of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). In the United States, the economic assistance program has saved or supported more than 50 million jobs and cut unemployment in half. These are numbers our country has never seen before.
We have created choice and transparency in healthcare, we have stood up to big pharma in many ways, but most importantly in our efforts to create a supportive environment that allows us to achieve the lowest prescription drug prices in the world.
We have embraced VA Choice, VA Accountability, Right to Try, and historic criminal justice reform.
We have upheld three new lawsuits in the United States Supreme Court. We have about 300 federal judges appointed to interpret our Constitution as written.
The American people have been begging for years for the country’s borders to finally be secured. I am pleased to say that we have answered that call and reached the safest border in American history. We have given our brave border guards and heroic ICE officers the tools they need to do their jobs better than ever, to enforce our laws and keep America safe.
We are proud to leave the strongest and most robust border security measures ever taken to the next government. These include historic agreements with Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, as well as over 450 miles of a new and powerful wall.
We have restored American strength at home and American leadership abroad. The world respects us again. Don’t lose that respect.
We regained our sovereignty by defending America at the United Nations and withdrawing from unilateral global agreements that never served our interests. And NATO countries are paying hundreds of billions of dollars more now than they were a few years ago. It was very unfair. We paid for peace. Now the world is helping us.
And perhaps most importantly: With nearly $3 trillion, we have completely rebuilt the U.S. military – all in the United States. We launched the first new branch of the U.S. Armed Forces in 75 years, the Space Force. And last spring, I went to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and saw American astronauts fly into space on American rockets for the first time in years.
We revitalized our alliances and brought together countries around the world to take on China like never before.
We destroyed the ISIS caliphate and ended the pathetic life of its founder and leader al-Baghdadi. We stood up to the oppressive Iranian regime and killed the best terrorist in the world, Iranian butcher Qassem Soleimani.
We have recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and we have recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
Thanks to our courageous diplomacy and principled realism, we have achieved historic peace agreements in the Middle East. No one believed it could happen. The treaties of Abraham opened the door to a future of peace and harmony, not violence and bloodshed. It’s the start of a new Middle East, and we’re bringing our soldiers home.
I am extremely proud to be the first president in decades not to start new wars.
Above all, we have affirmed the sacred idea that government in America is subject to the people. Our guide, our North Star, our unwavering belief that we are here to serve the noble citizens of America every day. Our allegiance is not to special interests, corporations or global organizations, but to our children, our citizens and our nation itself.
As president, my top priority, my constant concern, has always been the interests of American workers and American families. I wasn’t aiming for the easiest path, but the hardest. I wasn’t looking for a way to get criticized. I have fought the toughest battles, the toughest battles and made the toughest decisions because you chose me to do so. Their needs have been my first and last unwavering goal.
This, I hope, will be our greatest legacy: Together, we put the American people back in charge of our country. We have restored self-government. We reinvigorated the idea that in America no one is forgotten because everyone counts and everyone has a voice. We fought for the principle that every citizen is entitled to equal dignity, equal treatment and equal rights, because we are all made equal by God. Everyone has the right to be treated with respect, to have their voice heard, and to have their government listened to. You are loyal to your country, and my administration has always been loyal to you.
We have worked to build a country where every citizen can find a good job and take care of their wonderful family. We have fought for communities where every American can be safe and for schools where every child can learn. We have nurtured a culture that respects our laws, honors our heroes, preserves our history, and never takes law-abiding citizens for granted. Americans should be very pleased with all that we have accomplished together. That’s amazing.
As I leave the White House, I ponder the dangers that threaten the priceless legacy we all share. As the most powerful country in the world, America is constantly facing threats and challenges from abroad. But the greatest danger we face is a loss of confidence in ourselves, a loss of confidence in our national greatness. A nation is only as strong as its spirit. Our dynamism is proportional to our pride. We are only as alive as the faith that beats in the hearts of our people.
No nation can prosper for long without losing faith in its own values, its history and its own heroes, for these are the sources of our unity and vitality.
What has always allowed America to triumph over the great challenges of the past is an unshakeable and unwavering belief in the majesty of our country and its unique calling in history. We must never lose that conviction. We must never give up our faith in America.
The key to national greatness lies in preserving and strengthening our common national identity. This means focusing on what we have in common: the heritage we all share.
At the heart of this legacy is also a strong belief in freedom of expression, free speech and open debate. Only if we forget who we are and how we got here can we ever allow political censorship and blacklisting in America. It’s unthinkable. Ending a free and open debate goes against our fundamental values and our most enduring traditions.
In America, we do not insist on absolute conformity or impose rigid orthodoxies and punitive speech codes. We just don’t do it. America is not a frightening nation of tame souls in need of shelter and protection from those with whom we disagree. That is not the case for us. It will never be what we are.
For nearly 250 years, Americans have challenged us with unparalleled courage, confidence and fierce independence. It is these wonderful qualities that once drove millions of ordinary citizens across the wild continent and into a new life in the great West. The same deep love of freedom that God gave us led our soldiers into battle and our astronauts into space.
When I think back over the past four years, one image comes to mind before all the others. Every time I walked the entire route of the parade, there were thousands and thousands of people. They went out with their families so they could stand up when we passed, proudly waving our big American flag. He’s never let me down. I knew they were not only coming to support me, they were coming to show their support and love for our country.
It is a republic of proud citizens, united by our common belief that America is the greatest nation in history. We are and should always be a land of hope, light and glory to the world. It is a precious heritage that we must preserve at all times.
I’ve been working there for four years. From the Great Hall of Muslim Leaders in Riyadh to the Great Square of the Polish People in Warsaw; from the Korean Assembly Hall to the rostrum of the United Nations General Assembly; from the Forbidden City in Beijing to the shadow of Mount Rushmore – I fought for you, I fought for your family, I fought for our country. Most of all, I fought for America and everything it stands for: security, strength, pride and freedom.
As I prepare to hand over power to the new government on Wednesday afternoon, I want you to know that the movement we have launched has only just begun. There’s never been anything like it. The conviction that a nation must serve its citizens does not weaken; on the contrary, it grows stronger every day.
As long as the American people have a deep and dedicated love for their country, there is nothing this nation cannot accomplish. Our communities will thrive. Our nation will prosper. Our traditions are kept alive. Our faith will be strong. And our future will be brighter than ever.
I leave this majestic place with a believing and joyful heart, with an optimistic spirit, with the supreme certainty that the best is yet to come for our country and for our children.
Thank you and goodbye. God bless you. God bless the United States of America.
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