Members of Congress, major news networks, journalists, and other critics of President Donald Trump responded coldly to his farewell message on Tuesday as the nation prepared for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“Today is the last full day of the worst and most dangerous president in American history,” tweeted Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) shortly after Trump’s nearly 20-minute video message was posted to the White House YouTube channel.
“For four years Trump has tried to divide our people up,” added Sanders, a Democratic presidential primary candidate who ultimately supported Biden. “Our job, now, is to bring people together around an agenda that works for all, not just the few.”
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) was more concise:
Washington Post media reporter Jeremy Barr pointed out that as Newsmax and Fox News anticipated Trump’s farewell address, CNN and MSNBC focused on Biden arriving at Joint Base Andrews—notably by private plane due to safety concerns with Amtrak and because Trump reportedly refused to offer the customary Air Force plane.
Though CNN later aired clips of Trump’s remarks, Barr noted the contrast between the networks just after the video’s release in a series of tweets:
Fox News is now airing the Trump farewell video
— Jeremy Barr (@jeremymbarr) January 19, 2021
The lack of attention to Trump’s remarks was reminiscent of when, just after the November 2020 presidential election, major news networks cut away from an evening address by Trump to fact-check his false claims that he had been elected to a second term. At the time, the race hadn’t been called for either candidate.
In the months that followed Biden’s electoral victory, Trump repeatedly claimed without evidence that the election was “rigged” and refused to accept his loss. On January 6, his lies about the election—echoed by congressional enablers—incited a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol as lawmakers tried to certify Biden’s win.
Trump’s incitement of the Capitol attack led major online platforms to ban the president, after years of resisting pressure to do so, and House Democrats—joined by just 10 Republicans—to impeach him a historic second time; a Senate trial is expected to begin sometime after Biden takes office and Democrats take control of the chamber.
Following in the footsteps of other platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, Google-owned YouTube suspended Trump’s personal channel for at least a week on January 12 for violating the company’s policies. According to NBC News reporter Scott Budman, YouTube has extended that ban for at least another seven days:
In his farewell speech—the full text of which was posted to the White House website—Trump touted his record of tearing up regulations and boosting U.S. contributions to the global climate crisis.
“We slashed more job-killing regulations than any administration had ever done before,” Trump declared. “We also unlocked our energy resources and became the world’s number-one producer of oil and natural gas by far.”
As CNN noted when Trump made similar comments during his 2020 State of the Union address, the U.S. become the world’s top energy producer during the Obama administration, though the country “became the top producer of crude oil in particular during Trump’s tenure.”
Although Trump did not mention Biden by name on Tuesday, he said, “We extend our best wishes, and we also want them to have luck—a very important word.”
Trump does not plan to attend Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday, which will have an unprecedented level of security due to concerns about more right-wing violence. CNN reported Tuesday that leading up to the release of Trump’s recorded remarks, “he hadn’t left the White House or been seen in public for a week.”