Donald Trump made a farewell speech on his final day as president of the United States, and in typical fashion, made a number of false statements in the process.
The US president, who was speaking from Joint Base Andrews outside Washington DC shortly before taking off for Florida, told a small crowd of family and associates that his presidency was “amazing by any standard”.
Among those absent from the send off was the outgoing vice president, Mike Pence, who will instead attend Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“We were not a regular administration,” said Mr Trump, who claimed that his administration oversaw “such good job numbers” that were “absolutely incredible”.
However, unemployment has almost doubled while he has been president, with 6.7 per cent of Americans currently without work. That number reached 14 per cent in April last year - the highest since the Great Depression.
And in December, the American economy lost more jobs than at any point since April - at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic last spring.
“Had we not been hit by the pandemic, we would’ve had numbers that never would have been seen,” Mr Trump continued.
”Already, the numbers are the best ever if you look at what happened until February a year ago. Our numbers were at a level nobody had ever seen before”.
Addressing the pandemic, which he called “the China virus”, Mr Trump said “it was a horrible thing that was put on to the world. We all know where it came from, but it's a horrible, horrible thing.”
The US was “hit so hard, just like the entire world was hit so hard,” he added, as he appeared to deflect blame for more than 400,000 American deaths - the world’s highest toll.
Mr Trump continued, and claimed that almost 300 federal judges were appointed during his time in office, something for which he said “we’re very proud of” and was a “record breaking number”.
In reality, the departing president oversaw 234 new appointments to federal courts, which was 27 judges fewer than former president Jimmy Carter, who made 261 appointments while in office.
Despite summarising his presidency as “amazing”, Mr Trump leaves office on Wednesday as the most unpopular American president in recorded history, according to Gallup pollsters.
Melania Trump, who he described as being “so so popular with the people, so popular,” also leaves the White House as the least popular first lady in recorded history.
“A fitting end to the Trump presidency. A speech full of puffery and lies, said CNN’s Jake Tapper after Mr Trump concluded the remarks. “We don't have to grade [it] on a curve. It was an embarrassment that he did not even mention the name of his successor, Joe Biden."
Before his speech, Mr Trump took off from the White House for one final time as the nation’s capital, currently under the protection of more soldiers than those currently on deployment to the Middle East, prepared to oversee the inauguration of his successor, Mr Biden.
The security measures were put in place after Mr Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol on 6 January - spurred on by his own false allegations of an election that was “stolen” from him.
Those claims were among 30,558 false or misleading statements the outgoing president made during his time in office, according to Washington Post analysis.
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