Donald Trump said on Thursday that the MAGA rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol “defiled the seat of American democracy” but did not address his own role in inciting the riot.
“To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country,” the president said in taped remarks tweeted from his now-restored Twitter account. “To those who broke the law, you will pay.”
Trump’s more forceful condemnation of the rioters comes a day after the president told his supporters at a rally, “You will never take back our country with weakness” and that “you have to show strength and you have to be strong.” After violence began at the U.S. Capitol, Trump released statements telling the rioters to “go home” but called them “great patriots,” “very special” and repeated false claims that the election was “stolen” from him in various social media posts and videos.
After Wednesday’s violence, and Trump’s ensuing responses, a growing number of lawmakers have called on Trump to be impeached or removed from office through the processes outlined in the 25th Amendment.
In Thursday’s video, which comes after Congress certified Joe Biden’s election, Trump appeared to acknowledge that his tenure as president was ending.
“A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power,” Trump said. “This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”
On Wednesday, hundreds of pro-Trump rioters broke into the U.S. Capitol, clashing with police, breaking glass, scaling walls and breaching the Senate chambers and members’ offices. At least four people died during the insurrection, and a Capitol police officer was said by a police union official to be on life support, according to reports. CNN had earlier in the day reported the officer had died.