US President Donald Trump has responded to his impeachment by the House of Representatives with a video statement where he denounces the riots at the US Capitol last week.
It is the first time Trump has strongly condemned those supporters who stormed the building while Congress certified Electoral College votes from the election. He has been accused of inciting insurrection in an address beforehand.
Before the anarchy, Trump again claimed election fraud and told his supporters to “fight like hell”.
After the House of Representatives voted to impeach him on Wednesday (local time) on charges of “inciting insurrection”, with a majority vote of 232-197, Trump said he unequivocally condemned the violence during the US Capitol riot, which left five dead.
While he made no reference to the impeachment decision in the video posted by the official White House Twitter account, people theorised he released the video as he was “scared to death” of an impeachment trial.
“When you’re scared to death of being convicted by the Senate,” one wrote in response to the video.
“Everything he said in this video was a total lie. Had he cared about unity, he would have accepted he LOST the election,” another added.
“His five-minute effort to protect himself from liability is meaningless.”
Somebody else added: “Nothing you do or say can save you Donald.”
Trump says violence will not be tolerated
In the video, Trump said violence and vandalism had “absolutely no place” in the United States.
“Making America Great Again has always been about defending the rule of law, supporting the men and women of law enforcement and upholding our nation's most sacred traditions and values.
“Mob violence goes against everything I believe in, and everything our movement stands for. No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence, no true supporter of mine could ever disrespect law enforcement, or our great American flag.
“No true supporter of mine could ever threaten or harass their fellow Americans – if you do any of these things, you are not supporting our movement, you're attacking it, and you are attacking our country.
“We can not tolerate it.”
Trump added political violence had spiralled out of control and riots and acts of intimidation and destruction “must stop”, whether you’re a Democrat or Republican.
He said there was never a justification or excuse for violence and those who engaged in the US Capitol riot would be brought to justice.
Trump ‘briefed on threat of violence’ during inauguration
The President has urged calm ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20.
“There has been reporting that additional demonstrations are being planned in the coming days here in Washington,” he said in his address.
“And of course I have been briefed by the US Secret Service on potential threats.
“Every American deserves to have their voice heard in a respectful and peaceful way. This is your First Amendment right. But I cannot emphasise that there must be no violence, no law breaking and no vandalism of any code.
“Everyone must follow our laws and obey the instructions of law enforcement.”
Trump said he had directed federal agencies to use all necessary resources to maintain order as thousands of National Guard members will be brought in to secure the city during Biden’s transition.
“Like all of you, I was shocked and deeply saddened by the calamity [at the US Capitol],” he said.
“We will get through this challenge. Just like we always do.”
Trump addresses ‘assault on free speech’
After Twitter announced an unprecedented move to ban Trump from its platform permanently, the President hit out at the “assault on free speech”.
“These are tense and difficult times, the efforts to censor, cancel and blacklist our fellow citizens are wrong and they are dangerous,” he said.
“What is needed now is for us to listen to one another, not to silence one another. All of us can choose, by our actions, to rise above the rancour and find common ground and shared purpose.
“We must focus on advancing the interests of the whole nation, delivering the miracle vaccines, defeating the pandemic, rebuilding the economy, protecting our national security and upholding the rule of law.”
In conclusion, Trump called on all Americans to overcome the passions of the moment, and join together as one.
“Let us choose to move forward united for the good of our families and communities and our country.”
Trump ‘scared to death’
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