politics

Donald Trump has given his final speech as president. Let us count the lies.

US President Donald Trump (for only one more day) has just delivered his final speech in office, and boy. 

At 20 minutes long, the pre-recorded farewell address released by the White House on Tuesday afternoon didn't mention his 2020 election defeat, let alone the name 'Joe Biden' at all.

It did, however, mention a whole bunch of lies that we need to talk about ASAP.

WATCH: A snippet of Trump's speech. Post continues after video.


Video via YouTube, The White House.

Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

1. 'I stand before you truly proud of what we have achieved together.'

Trump began: "Four years ago, we launched a great national effort to rebuild our country, to renew its spirit, and to restore the allegiance of this government to its citizens. In short, we embarked on a mission to make America great again - for all Americans.

"As I conclude my term as the 45th President of the United States, I stand before you truly proud of what we have achieved together. We did what we came here to do - and so much more."

Trump says he's proud of what he has achieved in office. Image: Getty.

Trump leaves office this week on a very grim milestone - America has just surpassed 400,000 deaths from COVID-19. That's the highest number of deaths recorded by any country in the world. 

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Throughout his presidency, Trump has repeatedly downplayed the threat of the virus, mocked masks, railed against lockdowns, promoted unproven and unsafe treatments, undercut scientific experts and expressed little compassion for victims.

And that's only the virus. Then there's the Black Lives Matter protests, the Capitol Hill riots, the fact he is the only president to be impeached twice, and that time he nearly provoked World War III. 

And really, that's just skimming the surface.

If that's something to be proud of and what Trump "came here to do", we are truly gobsmacked. 

Read: A ranking of the most utterly bizarre things Donald Trump has done during his presidency.

2. 'We are a nation of peace-loving citizens. All Americans were horrified by the assault on our Capitol.'

After a few thankyous Trump moves on to the American people: "We must never forget that while Americans will always have our disagreements, we are a nation of incredible, decent, faithful, and peace-loving citizens who all want our country to thrive and flourish and be very, very successful and good. We are a truly magnificent nation.

"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."

Peace-loving?

On January 6, Trump supporters converged on Capitol Hill violently attacking the American democratic process by pillaging, trespassing and destroying official government property. 

The world watched on as truly extraordinary pictures emerged of Trump supporters breaking into the Capitol building. Image: Getty.

Wednesday's inauguration has security heightened to prevent a similar attack. The FBI is also monitoring multiple threats on the inauguration.

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Let's not forget the fact Trump is being impeached because he allegedly incited the violence, with footage showing Trump, members of his family and members of the Trump administration watching a screen and celebrating from a tent as rioters stormed into the U.S. Capitol building earlier this month. 

3. 'I wanted to give something back.'

"Four years ago, I 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. I ran for president because I knew there were towering new summits for America just waiting to be scaled. I knew the potential for our nation was boundless as long as we put America first.

"So I left behind my former life and stepped into a very difficult arena, but an arena nevertheless, with all sorts of potential if properly done. America had given me so much, and I wanted to give something back," said Trump. 

Let's unpack. By framing himself as a humble 'builder' Trump - we can only assume - is attempting to frame himself as an 'everyman'. Which he is most definitely not. 

Before becoming president, Trump stated a net worth of US $8,737,540,000. He became the president of his father's real estate business in the early 70s, and his company erected skyscrapers, hotels, casinos and golf courses across America. He was a businessman, not a builder. He also isn't known for 'giving back'.

In 2019, a judge ordered him to pay $2 million in damages for illegally using funds intended for charity to boost his 2016 presidential election campaign. For example.

4. 'We built the greatest economy in the history of the world.'

Trump's speech continues: "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. We restored the principle that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Our agenda was not about right or left, it wasn't about Republican or Democrat, but about the good of a nation, and that means the whole nation."

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While it's true the economy was doing well prior to the pandemic - continuing a trend which began during the Obama administration - there have been periods when it was much stronger.

Then the pandemic hit and the US economy was hit by the biggest economic contraction ever recorded.

So there's that. 

But it's Trump's claim that the agenda is not about "right or left" that's truly mindboggling. Many political commentators in fact say the opposite is true: That Trump's legacy is creating a more divided and polarised America than ever before. 

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5. 'Millions were lifted from poverty in just a few short years.'

Trump then moves on to listing more achievements:

"We passed the largest package of tax cuts and reforms in American history. We slashed more job-killing regulations than any administration had ever done before. We fixed our broken trade deals, withdrew from the horrible Trans-Pacific Partnership and the impossible Paris Climate Accord, renegotiated the one-sided South Korea deal, and we replaced NAFTA with the groundbreaking USMCA - that's Mexico and Canada - a deal that's worked out very, very well.

"We also unlocked our energy resources and became the world's number-one producer of oil and natural gas by far. Powered by these policies, we built the greatest economy in the history of the world. We reignited America's job creation and achieved record-low unemployment for African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, women - almost everyone.

"Incomes soared, wages boomed, the American dream was restored, and millions were lifted from poverty in just a few short years. It was a miracle."

As The Atlantic aptly writes, "Few presidents have left office with so little accomplished, impeached and disgraced."

Trump has with many of his 'achievements' - particularly in his first three years - taken the credit for things like unemployment, manufacturing, and wages, when the wheels for said achievements were actually put into motion by the Obama administration.

Trump's tax cut was promised to accelerate long term growth by stimulating business investment. That didn't happen. It in fact imposed trillion-dollar deficits on the US - even before the pandemic hit. 

Of course, one could dedicate years to unpacking every one of Trump's so-called 'achievements', so I'll focus on just one more from his list; Trump's claim that he lifted millions out of unemployment. 

Even after taking the credit for an Obama-led initiative, that claim is completely tone-deaf given that as he leaves office it's estimated that unemployment for the lowest-paid workers in the U.S. is above 20%.

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Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, Trump's America last year experienced the worst job losses that any president has faced going into an election based on records going back to the second world war.

His country is in crisis, and Trump is heralding success from years ago as a current reality. 

To really bring Trump's achievements home, since Trump’s inauguration in 2017, PolitiFact has tracked 102 pledges Trump made to voters during the 2016 campaign. As he leaves office, their final report shows he kept 25 promises, compromised on 23 and broke 54.

6. 'We did it in nine months'

Trump then turned his attention to the pandemic, or as he once again offensively called it in his speech: the 'China virus.'

"When our nation was hit with the terrible pandemic, we produced not one, but two vaccines with record-breaking speed, and more will quickly follow. They said it couldn't be done, but we did it. They call it a 'medical miracle,' and that's what they're calling it right now: a 'medical miracle.'

"Another administration would have taken 3, 4, 5, maybe even up to 10 years to develop a vaccine. We did in nine months."

Trump has continually taken personal credit for two coronavirus vaccines that were approved for use in America towards the end of 2020. Not only did he personally have nothing to do with them, his administration wasn't very involved either.

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As Forbes points out, "There is nothing in the record that warrants him taking 'credit' for the vaccines. A review of events shows immigrants and immigrant-led companies created the vaccines."

Also, Pfizer notably did not accept government money to develop, test or expand manufacturing capacity under Trump’s Operation Warp Speed initiative, and in fact partnered with the vaccine’s original developer, Germany’s BioNTech, in March and the following month announced the first human study in Germany. 

7. 'The world respects us again.'

"We restored American strength at home and American leadership abroad. The world respects us again. Please don't lose that respect," Trump said, while touching on his international relationships.

Ah. Sorry to break it to you Trump, this is a big fat no. 

America was once the superpower the world looked up to, but after Trump's presidency, it's safe to say nobody is today looking to Washington for a solution to our current crisis - the global pandemic. 

During the pandemic, America became the rest of the world's "worst-case scenario" as we watched the virus wreak havoc. 

Leaders around the world just this month condemned the 'horrifying' riot at US Capitol building, with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying this: "All my life, America has stood for some very important things — an idea of freedom and an idea of democracy. And ... so far as he encouraged people to storm the Capitol and insofar as the president has consistently cast doubt on the outcome of a free and fair election, I believe that that was completely wrong." 

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The world is in fact looking on, in shock, at the United States.

8. 'I am especially proud to be the first president in decades who has started no new wars.'

Trump went as far as to declare that he was "especially" proud of the fact he was the "first president in decades who has started no new wars."

It is true that he did not start any new wars in foreign countries. 

But under Trump, we have seen a rise in Neo-Nazi white supremacy, a movement he failed to condemn on more than one occasion. 

As Salon points out he, "banned citizens of Muslim countries from coming to the US, put children in cages and pardoned a series of war criminals, sending a pretty strong signal to the world that the US has become a rogue superpower that ignores common decency and international law."

9. 'As long as the American people hold in their hearts deep and devoted love of country, there is nothing that this nation cannot achieve.'

Trump's closing statements were as follows: "As long as the American people hold in their hearts deep and devoted love of country, then there is nothing that this nation cannot achieve. Our communities will flourish. Our people will be prosperous. Our traditions will be cherished. Our faith will be strong. And our future will be brighter than ever before.

"I go from this majestic place with a loyal and joyful heart, an optimistic spirit, and a supreme confidence that for our country and for our children, the best is yet to come."

Unfortunately, love is not going to solve the pandemic's grip on America.  

Strong leadership, clear rules, and a belief in science might be a better way to start. 

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By closing with 'love' at a time when America is on its knees, Trump pretty well sums up just how much he underestimates the carnage he's leaving behind. 

On Wednesday (Thursday AEST), America gets a new president. Trump says the Biden administration needs 'luck'. 

Perhaps he should have picked a different 'L' word. 

Hopefully, under Biden and Harris, the United States will get leadership instead. 

Feature image: Getty.

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