Donald Trump 'unequivocally' condemns US Capitol violence in subdued message hours after impeachment
Trump kept out of sight in White House as impeachment proceedings played out at the US Capitol. There, the damage from last week’s riots provided a reminder of the insurrection that Trump was accused of inciting
Outgoing United States president Donald Trump on Thursday unequivocally condemned last week's Capitol Hill riot, and asserted there is never a justification or an excuse for such a violence. Trump was impeached for the second time on Thursday after the US House charged him for "incitement".
"Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country and no place in our movement," he said in a video recorded in the Oval Office of the White House. 'Making America Great Again' has always been about defending the rule of law, supporting the men and women of law enforcement and upholding the nation's most sacred traditions and values."
"The incursion of the US Capitol struck at the very heart of our Republic. It angered and appalled millions of Americans across the political spectrum. I want to be very clear. I unequivocally condemn the violence that we saw last week," the US President said.
"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 supporter of mine could ever threaten or harass their fellow Americans," he said.
Over the course of the past year, which was made so difficult because of COVID-19, the country has seen political violence spiral out of control, Trump said.
"We have seen too many riots, too many mobs, too many acts of intimidation and destruction. It must stop," he said.
"Whether you are on the right or on the left, a Democrat or a Republican, there is never a justification for violence. No excuses, no exceptions. America is a nation of laws. Those who engaged in the attacks last week will be brought to justice," Trump said.
"Now, I am asking everyone who has ever believed in our agenda to be thinking of ways to ease tensions, calm tempers, and help to promote peace in our country," he added.
Noting that there have been reports of additional demonstrations being planned in the coming days both in Washington and across the country, Trump said he has been briefed by the US Secret Service on the potential threats.
"Every American deserves to have their voice heard in a respectful and peaceful way. That is your First Amendment right. But I cannot emphasize that there must be no violence, no law-breaking and no vandalism of any kind. Everyone follow our laws and obey the instructions of law enforcement," he said.
Trump said that he has directed federal agencies to use all necessary resources to maintain order in Washington DC. "We are bringing in thousands of National Guard members to secure the city and ensure that a transition can occur safely and without incident," he said.
"Like all of you, I was shocked and deeply saddened by the calamity at the Capitol last week," the President said.
In the five-minute video, Trump said there has been an unprecedented assault on free speech in recent days. "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 rank and find common ground and shared purpose. We must focus on advancing the interest of the whole nation delivering the miracle vaccines, defeating the pandemic, rebuilding the economy, protecting our national security and upholding the rule of law," he said.
"Today, I am calling on all Americans to overcome the passions of the moment and join together as one American people. Let us choose to move forward united for the good of our families, our communities, and our country," Trump said.
The video was released hours after Trump faced a historic second impeachment.
For more than four years, Trump has dominated the national discourse like no one before him. Yet when his legacy was set in stone on Wednesday, he was left on the sidelines, AP reported.
Trump now stands with no equal, the only president to be charged twice with a high crime or misdemeanor, a new coda for a term defined by a deepening of the nation's divides, his failures during the worst pandemic in a century and his refusal to accept defeat at the ballot box.
Trump kept out of sight in a nearly empty White House as impeachment proceedings played out at the heavily fortified US Capitol. There, the damage from last week’s riots provided a visible reminder of the insurrection that the president was accused of inciting.
Abandoned by some in his own party, Trump could do nothing but watch history unfold on television. The suspension of his Twitter account deprived Trump of his most potent means to keep Republicans in line, giving a sense that Trump had been defanged and, for the first time, his hold on his adopted party was in question.
With inputs from agencies
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