Washington, Jan 7 (efe-epa).- Outgoing President Donald Trump on Thursday condemned the “heinous attack” on the US Capitol by his own supporters and after months of refusing to concede his election loss to Joe Biden, he acknowledged that a “new administration” will take office Jan. 20.
“Like all Americans, I am outraged by the violence and lawlessness and mayhem,” he said of Wednesday’s riot in a video posted on Twitter.
“America is, and must always be, a nation of law and order. The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy,” Trump said a day after appearing to justify the assault in a tweet that prompted Twitter to block his account temporarily.
“To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law, you will pay,” he said.
The death toll from the attack on the Capitol climbed to five Thursday evening with the death of a police officer from injuries received during the incident.
“We have just been through an intense election and emotions are high, but now tempers must be cooled and calm, restored,” the Republican real estate mogul said.
Referring to his campaign to challenge the results, which consisted mainly of groundless claims of massive fraud, he said that his “only goal” had been “to ensure the integrity of the vote.”
“Now, Congress has certified the results and 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.
“To the citizens of our country, serving as your president has been the honor 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,” he said.
The president’s condemnation of the Capitol riot represented a complete about-face from the position he expressed Wednesday evening in the tweet that led to the temporary shutdown of his account.
“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” Trump wrote.
The recorded video was posted amid demands from the country’s highest-ranking Democratic officeholders that Vice President Mike Pence invoke the 25th Amendment of the Constitution to remove Trump for instigating the assault on the Capitol.
“In calling for this seditious act, the president has committed an unspeakable assault on our nation, and our people,” Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives, told a press conference at the Capitol some 12 hours after Congress certified Biden’s victory in the Nov. 3 presidential election.
“I join the Senate Democratic leader in calling on the vice president to remove this president by immediately invoking the 25th Amendment. If the vice president and Cabinet do not act, the Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment,” she said.
Under the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution, the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet can remove a president if they decide that he or she is “unable to discharge the powers and duties” of the nation’s highest office.
“What happened at the US Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement Thursday morning. “This president should not hold office one day longer.”
“The quickest and most effective way – it can be done today – to remove this president from office would be for the vice president to immediately invoke the 25th Amendment,” the New York Democrat said.
Neither Pence nor any member of the Cabinet has commented publicly on the idea of using the 25th Amendment to oust Trump less than two weeks before Biden becomes president on Jan. 20.
But Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced Thursday that she was resigning effective Jan. 11 in response to the previous day’s events at the Capitol.
“Yesterday, our country experienced a traumatic and entirely avoidable event as supporters of the President stormed the Capitol building following a rally he addressed,” the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.