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In dueling New Year messages, Trump reflects while Biden looks ahead

Published: Updated:

President Donald Trump in a New Year’s Eve message reflected on his accomplishments in office, calling them “historic victories,” while his successor, President-elect Joe Biden, struck an upbeat tone in looking ahead to 2021.

After weeks of vowing to win his fight to remain in office, Republican Trump said in a video posted on Twitter: “We have to be remembered for what’s been done.”

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Trump, who has yet to formally concede his November election defeat to his Democratic rival, returned to Washington early from his Florida resort amid a fight with Congress over a defense bill and coronavirus aid checks.

Speaking from Rehobeth Beach, Delaware, Biden paid tribute to healthcare workers and encouraged people to get vaccinated in a brief appearance with his wife, Jill Biden, on the long-running ABC special “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2021.”

“I’m absolutely, positively confident - confident - we’re going to come back and we’re going to come back even stronger than before,” said Biden, who takes office on January 20.

He repeated his call for vaccines to be distributed more quickly.

Trump, who had COVID-19 in October, frequently played down the severity of the pandemic and oversaw a response many health experts have criticized as disorganized, cavalier and sometimes ignored the science behind virus transmission.

But in his remarks he noted that the US has produced a COVID-19 vaccine in record time and he had correctly predicted it would come before the year ended.

The US has been one of the countries worst-hit by COVID-19 and leads the world in fatalities, with more than 340,000 deaths officially attributed to the virus.

Trump was originally scheduled to attend a New Year’s Eve party at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

The White House has given no reason for why he returned to Washington early, but it coincides with Trump’s fight with Congress over his veto of a major defense bill and his demand for increased COVID-19 stimulus checks, as well as a spike in tensions with Iran.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the chamber, dealt a likely death blow on Wednesday to Trump’s bid to boost coronavirus aid to Americans, declining to schedule a swift vote on a bill to raise relief checks to $2,000 from the $600 included in a $892 billion relief package passed by Congress earlier this month.

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