His remarks were made in a video released on his Twitter account, which was earlier suspended to prevent the President from inciting further violence.
A day after U.S. President Donald Trump’s supporters, charged after listening to their leader’s remarks at a rally in Washington D.C., stormed the U.S. Capitol, Mr. Trump condemned the violence and acknowledged that a new administration would be sworn in on January 20. Mr. Trump’s remarks were made in a video released on his Twitter account, which was earlier suspended to prevent the President from inciting further violence. Four people died as a result of the attack on the Capitol.
“Like all Americans I am outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem,” Mr. Trump said.
Mr. Trump has consistently claimed that the elections were fraudulent and he – and not Democratic candidate Joe Biden – was the actual winner of the contest without providing adequate evidence to back up his claims.
“The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy,” Mr. Trump said as calls for removing him via impeachment or the U.S. Constitution’s 25th Amendment grew louder. Several prominent GOP lawmakers had criticised the violence on Wednesday and some administration officials had resigned.
Mr. Trump addressed the rioters in his speech and said they did not represent the country.
“To those who broke the law, you will pay,” he said. This was in contrast to Wednesday, when Mr. Trump had called the rioters “very special” people in a video message to them asking them to retreat.
Dozens involved in the attack have been arrested and charged (e.g. unlawful entering public property, possessing a military style automatic weapon).
Mr. Trump’s role in the violence is also being looked by the Justice Department.
“We are looking at all actors, not only the people who went into the building,” U.S. attorney Michael Sherwin told reporters in response to a question on whether investigators were looking into the President’s role in Wednesday’s chaos.
Mr. Trump said that while emotions were high following an “intense election,” tempers “must be cooled” now.
“We must get on with the business of America,” he said.
“Now Congress has certified the results. A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation,” Mr. Trump said.
He said in contesting the election results, his “only goal” was to ensure the integrity of the election.
“I continue to strongly believe that we must reform our election laws to verify the identify and eligibility of all voters,” he said. Democrats and civil rights activists have accused Republicans of wanting to disenfranchise minorities by making it harder for them to vote or otherwise invalidating their ballots.
“Let me be clear: the violence we saw yesterday at our nation’s Capitol was appalling, reprehensible, and antithetical to the American way,” Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in the press briefing room on Thursday evening.
Mr. Trump’s comments got applause from some of his allies on Capitol Hill, including Lindsay Graham, a Senator from South Carolina, who had said “enough is enough” when reacting to the violence on Wednesday. Yet Mr. Graham, was one of several GOP lawmakers who tacitly or explicitly encouraged Mr. Trump’s contestation of the election results without an adequate evidentiary basis. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger had accused Mr. Graham of pressuring him to not count legally cast votes in the State in November, after Mr. Biden won Georgia.
“President @realDonaldTrump’s statement tonight urging the country to move forward and heal was much-needed and hit the mark. Well done, Mr. President,” Mr. Graham tweeted shortly after the video was released.
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