Opinion: Trump’s farewell speech a reminder of preposterous four years

Matt Poe

As Donald Trump prepared to give his final speech of his presidency, I was reminded of a similar (sort of) speech just a few years back featuring our former president, Barack Obama. The aforementioned speech took place in January 2017 when Obama delivered his farewell address as president in his adoptive hometown of Chicago.

It was vintage Obama: a masterful display of grace, humor and humility in a time when most people began believing those values were no longer necessary for everyday life. It was somber, accompanied with laughs and tears as Obama thanked his wife, Michelle and former vice president Joe Biden. If both of those relationships aren’t great examples of #Relationshipgoals, then I don’t know what is.

Man, does that feel like a long time ago. But now it’s January 2021 and President Donald Trump just concluded his farewell speech as our 45th president. As we all know, His Orangeness was defeated in the general election by Democratic nominee Kanye West (he’s got his own issues, I know), but thankfully Kanye is turning most of his duties and powers over to his vice president, Bill Murray.

Murray has already enacted legislation to ensure kegs and taco stands on every street corner and won’t discriminate against customer regardless of one’s liberal or conservative views. His decision to govern directly from the press box at Wrigley Field in Chicago may draw ire from conservatives (and White Sox fans) but it’s something we can manage. After all, we did just survive four years of a Trump presidency.

Speaking of which, Trump’s farewell speech was much like his presidency: unpredictable, uncensored and inflammatory. Frankly, I knew it was going to be typical Trump when one CNN reporter, whom Trump still declared as fake news, asked him if his vision of “making America great again” truly transpired.

“You believed that shtick?” Trump laughed as he downed a well-done Trump steak with a glass of Trump vodka. “That was just a ploy to get elected and garner some attention!”

After finishing the 23-ounce ribeye, Trump then addressed the on-going relationship between the United States and Russia, which, if you recall, was a major talking point during the early years of his presidency.

“Look, Russia is great, I love Russia, they’re really terrific,” Trump said as he swiped a chocolate bar out of a nearby five-year-old’s hand. “Putin and I are terrific friends, our relationship was great, just great, you know, he called me on the phone the other day and the conversation was terrific.”

As most Americans remember, along with others around the world, Trump and his suspicious relationship with Russia finally came to light after the alleged hotel videotapes surfaced in early 2018. The release of the tape sparked the president to inconceivably continue to defend Putin and claim that “fake news” outlets like ABC and NBC leaked the video.

Coupled with his tax returns that showed direct ties with Russian businesses, Trump felt obligated for one final jab at the media.

“It’s terrible. It’s just awful the way the media works in this country,” Trump said while being bounced up and down on Putin’s knee. “It’s a shame that I just can’t say inflammatory things and get away with it. It’s dishonest and it’s sad.”

After his closing remarks, which included stating that he would now retire to Florida and continue to cheat at golf, the Trump presidency ended with the same whimper it began.

Somehow, we managed to avoid another World War. For that, I thank you former President Trump; it was the lone bright spot in an otherwise tension-filled four years.

It was a long, tiresome couple of years for almost all of us but now, I’m spent and in need of some rest. So if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to leave my apartment for the local street corner where cold beer and some taco al pastor await me. 

Matt Poe is a columnist this semester. Contact him at [email protected].