I was going to read a prepared speech tonight about how Russia has waged a covert war on my presidency and on our country.
Those of you who watched the Senate hearings yesterday know what I'm talking about.
You should also know that none of this is new.
We have been under one form of Russian attack or another since the 1950s.
What's different today is what an easy target we are, as deeply divided a nation as I can remember.
For this, I must share some of the blame.
The attack on my life earlier this year… It scared the hell out of me.
Then it made me really angry, and then I tried to get even.
I wasn't above using the power of this office to lash out at my enemies.
I don't believe it was against the law, but it was wrong.
For over 200 years, we have had an angel on our shoulder in this country. Lately… I've been wondering where she's gone.
Look around. We're in trouble. Our democracy is.
And it is not Russia's fault. It is ours.
We are the ones killing it. When we think of democracies dying, we think of revolutions, of military coup d'etats, of armed men in the street.
But that's less and less how it happens anymore.
Turkey, Poland, Hungary, Nicaragua, the Philippines… democracies now die when we're not looking, when we're not paying attention.
And the end rarely comes in an instant, but arrives slowly, like twilight.
And at first, our eyes don't notice.
Our country is at a crisis point, locked in an existential conflict over race and identity and culture.
The signs are everywhere and flashing red.
Something must change.
Something bold must be done.
I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I do know I have become part of the problem.
I open my mouth, and half of you hear only lies.
That's not only unacceptable, but unlikely to change anytime soon.
No single leader can save a democracy, but without a leader you can trust, no democracy can be saved.
For that reason, effective midnight tonight, I hereby resign the Presidency of the United States.
People will say I'm stepping down because I'm weak.
I am as strong as I have ever been.
People will say it's because I'm a woman.
Well, if it takes a woman to shock this country back to its senses, so be it.
So let's make a promise here tonight – an American promise to each other:
That instead of scorching the earth between us, we will try every day to find common ground.
There will be a new President in the morning.
Pray for him.
Our future depends on it.
Good night, and God bless America.«