Trump Emphasizes National Unity, ‘Poetry of Community’ in Concession Speech to Biden (Clearly Labeled Satire)
Citing “America’s long and cherished tradition of the peaceful transference of power,” President Donald Trump conceded the 2020 presidential race to former vice president Joe Biden early Saturday evening in a televised address from the Oval Office, calling on all Americans to “support my successor in his role as president, even if you don’t always agree with his specific policies.”
Speaking in a calm, measured tone meant to reassure a nation on edge after more than three days with no declared winner in the presidential election, Trump thanked the American people for setting voting records in the 2020 election, even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You are the latest guardians of the sacred tradition of voting, of speaking truth to power by making your voices heard at the ballot box or through the mail,” Trump said. “While I may have lost this election, I know the democratic process in our nation grows stronger every time an eligible voter exercises that sacred right, regardless of who wins and who loses. So to all of you who cast ballots in this historic election, my message is simply this: Thank you for caring enough to vote.”
After promising to support an efficient and effective transition so the Biden administration would be fully prepared and capable from Day One, Trump said he was experiencing some unfamiliar feelings and that he felt unable to articulate those feelings with any sort of verbal precision.
President encourages ‘a poetry of community’
“Maybe it’s the all the stress from the election, or maybe it’s the aftermath of my battle with the coronavirus, but even stable geniuses sometimes hit a brick wall,” he said, a sad laughter infused with a kind of nostalgic melancholia animating his voice.
“So I turn now to the words of one my favorite poets, Theodore Roethke, and I would like to close tonight by encouraging you all to find poetry in your own lives, a poetry of community, appreciative of the common ground you share with all humanity as well as your diverse personal pursuits of life, liberty and your very own God-given uniqueness that adds happiness, grace and a divine depth to your ever-present blessings.”
The president then recited from memory a portion of Roethke’s classic poem, “The Waking”:
“I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.
We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.”
In closing, Trump pledged to spend the remainder of his presidency working diligently to reunite parents and children separated at the U.S.- Mexican border as part of his administration’s anti-immigration agenda.
“What was I thinking?” Trump asked rhetorically as his eyes softened and he lowered his gaze to the polished surface of the empty desk before him. “What in the name of all that is right and decent was I thinking?”
Giuliani to White House press corps: ‘Toward better things’
The speech, a marked contrast from Trump’s previous post-election rhetoric — and that of his entire presidency — came as a complete surprise not only to a stunned citizenry but also to most of his aides, surrogates and sympathetic members of the news media, all of whom refused comment for this story. But at least one prominent member of president’s inner circle had an explanation for the change in tone.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Trump loyalist who has often seemed erratic and incoherent in recent years, spoke to reporters on the White House lawn immediately following the president’s concession speech.
“The president and I had a long talk this morning,” Giuliani said, “and we came to the conclusion that what’s best for any one president is not always necessarily better for the country as a whole. President Trump has always been about putting the good of the nation above his personal interests, and the time between now and Joe Biden’s Inauguration Day will be no different.”
When asked by a combative Jim Acosta of CNN to level with the American people and confess to what the nice-guy act was all about, Giuliani smiled softly and took a deep breath before answering.
“Of course the outcome of this election is disappointing, Jim,” Giuliani said. “Of course the president and the supporters who love him so much wanted four more years. But there are higher principles at stake here, and President Trump recognizes that the most noble path to take after losing an election is to honor the will of the people. That he will do, and he will do it with composure and dignity befitting the office along with a commitment to ensuring that our country will continue to be what President Reagan called ‘that shining city on a hill.’ Ad meliora, my friends in the press, toward better things.”
Reached for comment by Acosta, President-elect Joe Biden thanked Trump for his “graciousness and generosity of spirit” and said he looked forward to meeting with the president over a secure Zoom channel at some point early next week.