AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis
President Barack Obama is set to give his farewell address, his final major planned speech.
In a speech in Chicago on Tuesday evening, the president is expected to deliver a speech with an uplifting tone that will likely avoid direct clashes with President-elect Donald Trump personally, but will champion a message of diversity that may contrast with Trump’s inflammatory campaign rhetoric.
The speech caps weeks of a White House publicity campaign celebrating the president’s legacy.
In a Medium post last week, the president reflected on the beginning of his first term, including the dire economic environment he inherited when he took office in 2009 amid the financial collapse.
“In the depths of that winter, on January 20, 2009, I stood before you and swore a sacred oath,” Obama wrote. “I told you that day that the challenges we faced would not be met easily or in a short span of time — but they would be met. And after eight busy years, we’ve met them — because of you.”
George Washington was the first president to deliver a farewell address, releasing a textual farewell at the end of his second term.
Though each president tends to craft their addresses in their own mold, outgoing presidents have occasionally used the speech to offer a warning. President Dwight Eisenhower cautioned the public against the creeping influence of the military-industrial complex, the relationship between the military and the private weapons, equipment, and contracting enterprises granted enormous contracts by the Department of Defense.
Obama eschewed the traditional Oval Office setting for the address, opting for a hometown rally in front of an audience in Chicago, where he delivered his 2008 and 2012 victory speeches.
The speech is set to begin at 9 PM EST.