Melania Trump delivers her farewell address
With White House staffers currently in the process of moving the belongings out of their offices ahead of Wednesday’s inauguration, First Lady Melania Trump on Monday released her Farewell Address to the nation as she and President Donald Trump, too, are set to leave the grounds on Wednesday morning.
While touching on the hardships the pandemic presented the nation, the frontline medical workers, law enforcement, and her “Be Best” campaign, the First Lady did not make any direct or indirect mention of President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden, who will move into the White House after the president-elect takes the oath of office Wednesday.
The First Lady in her taped speech called her time serving in the role “the greatest honor of my life”.
“The past four years have been unforgettable. As Donald and I conclude our time in the White House, I think of all the people I have taken home in my heart and their incredible stories of love, patriotism, and determination,” Mrs. Trump said.
READ FULL SPEACH TRANSCRIPT HERE.
“I see the faces of brave young soldiers who have told me with pride in their eyes how much they love serving this country. To every service member and to our incredible military families: You are heroes, and you will always be in my thoughts and prayers,” she said. “I think of all the members of law enforcement who greet us wherever we go. At every hour of every day, they stand guard to keep our communities safe, and we are forever in their debt.”
Mrs. Trump also talked about being moved by children she’s visited in hospitals and foster care centers and mothers battling opioid addiction. Notably, she took a moment to mention being “inspired by the devoted caregivers for babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, and communities that give these children the support and care they need to grow.”
Reflecting upon these encounters with all these individuals, Mrs. Trump said: “When I think about these meaningful experiences, I am humbled to have had the opportunity to represent a nation with such kind and generous people.”
The First Lady’s attention shifted to the COVID-19 pandemic, thanking all medical workers for their work during these trying times for the nation and the world and expressing their sadness for families who lost loved ones.
“As the world continues to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, I thank all the nurses, doctors, healthcare professionals, manufacturing workers, truck drivers, and so many others who are working to save lives,” she said. “We grieve for the families who have lost a loved one due to the pandemic. Every life is precious, and I ask all Americans to use caution and common sense to protect the vulnerable as millions of vaccines are now being delivered.”
“In the midst of this hardship, we have seen the best of America shine through,” Mrs. Trump continued. “Students have made cards and delivered groceries to our Senior Citizens. Teachers have worked twice as hard to keep our children learning. Families have come together to provide meals, supplies, comfort and friendship to those in need.”
In one moment, Mrs. Trump denounced violence, in the aftermath of the deadly riot in the Capitol on January 6 that took five lives.
“Be passionate in everything you do but always remember that violence is never the answer and will never be justified,” she said. She did not mention the House of Representatives impeaching President Trump last Wednesday for “incitement of insurrection” regarding the Capitol riot.
Mrs. Trump then turned to her “Be Best” campaign, which was an initiative to spread public awareness about childhood well-being and advocated against cyberbullying and drug use, especially opioids. The cyberbullying aspect of her campaign has come under scrutiny by many critics, saying that her husband’s behavior online falls under the definition of cyberbullying.
“I launched Be Best to ensure that we as Americans are doing everything we can to take care of the next generation,” she said. “Be Best has concentrated on three pillars: well-being, online safety, and opioid abuse.”
“In a few short years, I have raised awareness of how to keep children safe online; we have made incredible progress on our nation’s drug epidemic and how it impacts the lives of newborns and families, and we have given a voice to our most vulnerable children in the foster care system,” Mrs. Trump added.
“As I say farewell to my role as First Lady, it is my sincere hope that every American will do their part to teach our children what it means to Be Best,” she also said. “I ask parents to educate your children about the courageous and selfless heroes who worked and sacrificed to make this country the land of the free. And to lead by example and care for others in your community.”
“The promise of this Nation belongs to all of us. Do not lose sight of your integrity and values. Use every opportunity to show consideration for another person and build good habits into your daily lives,” she continued. “In all circumstances, I ask every American to be an ambassador of Be Best. To focus on what unites us. To rise above what divides us. To always choose love over hatred, peace over violence, and others before yourself.”
“Together, as one national family, we can continue to be the light of hope for future generations and carry on America’s legacy of raising our nation to greater heights through our spirit of courage, goodness and faith,” the First Lady added.
“No words can express the depth of my gratitude for the privilege of having served as your First Lady,” Mrs. Trump concluded. “To all the people of this country: You will be in my heart forever.”
The Trumps will not be attending Biden’s inauguration, the first time a president has done so since 1869. Vice President Mike Pence will attend Biden’s inauguration to ensure a smooth transition of power, along with all former presidents except for the 96-year-old Jimmy Carter. Wednesday morning, the Trumps will fly down to the president’s club Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.