In a video message released Wednesday shortly after he became the first US president to be twice impeached, President Donald Trump condemned the violence he instigated on Capitol Hill last week, but did not no mention of the lawmakers who removed him.
“I want to be very clear, I unequivocally condemn the violence we saw last week,” Trump said in a video tweeted from the White House account.
“The mob violence goes against everything I believe in,” he said, referring to the violent insurgency on Capitol Hill led by his ardent supporters. “None of my true supporters will ever be able to endorse political violence … will never be able to disrespect law enforcement.”
Trump was impeached over his role in inciting a violent mob of his supporters during their siege on Capitol Hill last Wednesday, after repeating lies and conspiracy theories that the election was stolen.
Pro-Trump rioters stormed the building, threatened journalists, attacked police, and forced lawmakers to flee for their safety. Five people died in the riot, including a police officer from the Capitol.
In the video, Trump said he was “shocked and deeply saddened by the calamity on Capitol Hill” and urged protests planned in the coming days to be “respectful and peaceful”.
Exactly a week after the riots, members of the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump in a 232-197 vote on Wednesday, with 10 Republicans joining Democrats in favor of impeachment.
Next, Trump faces a Senate trial, which will likely take place after President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated next week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to bring back the Senate early in an emergency to consider impeachment. The Republican leader said he was still undecided on how he would vote, saying he was awaiting “legal arguments” presented in the Senate.
In the video, Trump also spoke out against what he called an “unprecedented attack on free speech” in recent days, saying that “efforts to censor, cancel and blacklist our citizens are wrong and dangerous ”.
Just days after the Capitol Riots, Twitter permanently banned Trump’s account, having recently repeatedly tweeted lies about the fraudulent election and, throughout his presidency, shared violent rhetoric in his posts.
Twitter said the decision was made “because of the risk of further incitement to violence.” Facebook and YouTube have also indefinitely banned Trump from their platforms.
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