Outgoing first lady Melania Trump delivered her farewell speech on Monday in a video message posted to Twitter in which she praised members of the military and law enforcement, and urged every American to “choose love” over hatred.
Ms Trump also thanked healthcare professionals for their work battling the coronavirus and said she had been “moved by children” she visited in hospitals.
“I am humbled to have had the opportunity to represent a nation with such kind and generous people,” Ms Trump said.
Ms Trump, towards the end of her speech, said: “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.”
“When I came to the White House, I reflected on the responsibility I have always felt as a mother to encourage, give strength and teach values of kindness,” Ms Trump said, defending her legacy as the first lady.
“The passion for helping children succeed has driven my policy initiatives as the first lady,” she said.
The video came after Ms Trump was criticised for refusing to give Jill Biden a tour of the White House, a more than 100 year-old tradition for outgoing first ladies.
Rather than the traditional meeting of the first families, the Bidens will be greeted by the White House by an usher. The Trumps are expected to depart for Mar-a-Lago early Wednesday morning.
“The past four years have been unforgettable,” the first lady said in the video. “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.”
She did not mention the Capitol riots but signed off on a note of peace while acknowledging her own Be Best anti-bullying campaign.
“Be passionate in everything you do but always remember that violence is never the answer and will never be justified,” she said.
Thanking the frontline workers who worked through the Covid-19 pandemic, 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,” she added.
“The promise of this nation belongs to all of us who do not lose sight of our integrity and values, use every opportunity to show consideration for another person, and build good habits into our daily lives,” she said, concluding her speech.
Her comments come as a new poll reveals she is at the most unpopular point of her tenure as the nation’s first lady.
The survey by CNN found that Ms Trump, with a 42 per cent favourability rating, is at the lowest she has received since the poll began in 2016, while her unfavourability rating has continued to climb to 47 per cent.