Outgoing United States President Donald Trump on Thursday conceded defeat to President-Elect Joe Biden and condemned the previous day’s violence at the US Capitol in Washington DC. He called it a “heinous attack” and said he was “outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem”.
“America is and must always be a nation of law and order,” Trump said in a video message on Twitter. “To demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol: you have defiled the seat of American democracy. To those who engage in the acts of violence and destruction: you do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law: you will pay.”
At a rally on Wednesday, Trump had urged his supporters to march to the Capitol. A mob had later entered the Capitol building as members of the Congress met to certify the results of the 2020 presidential elections, which Joe Biden won.
Videos on social media showed the mob shattering the Capitol’s windows and entering the building. One of the rioters even went and sat in the well of the Senate. Lawmakers put on gas masks and crouched under their desks as the police tried to secure the complex. The House was evacuated at first, but it reconvened hours later to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory.
Four people died in the violence and at least 68 were arrested. The incident triggered shock in the US and across the world. Several officials related to the White House and security forces tendered resignations following the incident, while members of Trump’s Cabinet were reportedly discussing the possibility of removing him from the office.
Trump acknowledged that emotions were high after an intense election but called for cooling down of tempers and said it was time to get on with business. “My campaign vigorously pursued every legal avenue to contest the election results, my only goal was to ensure the integrity of the vote,” he said. “In so doing, I was fighting to defend American democracy. I continue to strongly believe that we must reform our election laws to verify the identity and eligibility of all voters and to ensure faith and confidence in all future elections.”
Now that Congress has certified the results, a new administration will be inaugurated on January 20, he said, adding that his focus was now to ensure a “smooth, orderly and seamless” transition of power. “This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”
Here’s the full text of his message:
I’d like to begin by addressing the heinous attack on the United States Capitol. Like all Americans I am outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem.
I immediately deployed the National Guard and federal law enforcement to secure the building and expel the intruders. America is and must always be a nation of law and order.
To demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol: you have defiled the seat of American democracy. To those who engage in the acts of violence and destruction: you do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law: you will pay.
We have just been through an intense election and emotions are high. But now, tempers must be cooled and calm restored. We must get on with the business of America.
My campaign vigorously pursued every legal avenue to contest the election results, my only goal was to ensure the integrity of the vote. In so doing, I was fighting to defend American democracy.
I continue to strongly believe that we must reform our election laws to verify the identity and eligibility of all voters and to ensure faith and confidence in all future elections.
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.
2020 has been a challenging time for our people, a menacing pandemic has upended the lives of our citizens, isolated millions in their homes damaged our economy, and claimed countless lives.
Defeating this pandemic and rebuilding the greatest economy on earth will require all of us working together. It will require a renewed emphasis on the civic values of patriotism, faith, charity, community and family.
We must revitalise the sacred bonds of love and loyalty, that bind us together as one national family. To the citizens of our country, serving as your president has been the honour of my lifetime.
And to all of my wonderful supporters. I know you are disappointed, but I also want you to know that our incredible journey is only just beginning.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.— Donald Trump
This was Trump’s first message on Twitter after his 12-hour suspension on the social media site ended. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter had on Wednesday blocked Trump’s accounts for policy violations after his supporters stormed the Capitol building and clashed with the police. But Facebook later extended the ban on Trump’s account for an indefinite period.
Twitter had asked Trump to delete the tweets so that that he can access his account, but also it made clear it planned to escalate its enforcement efforts and suspend the president permanently if he continues to break the company’s rules. The president had deleted his tweets.