WASHINGTON — In a video message released after he was impeached for the second time, President Trump delivered a rebuke of the violence which rocked the US Capitol and issued a call for unity as he prepares to leave the White House.
Sitting behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, the commander in chief said he was “shocked and deeply saddened by the calamity at the Capitol last week.”
“I want to be very clear: I unequivocally condemn the violence that we saw last week. Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country and no place in our movement,” Trump said after a mob of his supporters stormed Congress in a riot which killed five people.
“Making America great again has always been about defending the rule of law, supporting the men and women of law enforcement and upholding our nations’ most sacred traditions and values,” he went on.
“Mob violence goes against everything I believe in and everything our movement stands for. No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence,” he said.
The five-minute video was released less than an hour after the House voted to impeach Trump on the charge he incited an insurrection — making him the first US president to be impeached twice.
Trump made no mention of the historic proceedings against him, which 10 Republican lawmakers voted in favor of.
It’s expected he may release another video on Wednesday night responding to the charges.
The message, released on YouTube after Facebook and Twitter banned Trump in the wake of the deadly riots, was the exact statement that Trump’s allies and critics alike both begged him to send as thousands of his supporters, angry with the outcome of the election, laid siege to Congress while lawmakers inside were voting to certify Joe Biden’s victory.
In his own impeachment floor speech on Wednesday, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy called on Trump to “accept his share of responsibility, quell brewing unrest and ensure President-elect Biden is able to successfully begin his term.”
Trump also said he had been briefed on new threats of violence as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take the oath of office.
Appearing to heed McCarthy’s counsel, Trump said he had been briefed on new threats of violence as Biden prepares to take the oath of office, and warned his supporters against further uprisings.
“There must be no violence, no law breaking and no vandalism of any kind. Everyone must follow our laws and obey the instructions of law enforcement,” Trump warned.
“In Washington, D.C., we are bringing in thousands of National Guard members to secure the city and to ensure that a transition can occur safely and without incident,” he said.
Incredible images emerged on Wednesday morning of hundreds of National Guard troops sleeping inside the Capitol which has become a fortress in the wake of the deadly security breach.
An ominous FBI bulletin made public over the weekend warned that armed protests are expected in all 50 state capitols, including D.C.
The president issued a rare call for unity and asked Americans to “overcome the passions of the movement” as authorities continue a large manhunt for the alleged participants in last week’s siege.
“We must focus on advancing the interests of the whole nation: delivering the miracle vaccines, defeating the pandemic, rebuilding the economy, protecting our national security, and upholding the rule of law,” Trump said.
“Let us choose to move forward unified, for the good of our families, our communities, and our country,” he continued.
Trump also warned against an “unprecedented assault on free speech” after Twitter and Facebook took the unprecedented step of locking his accounts until at least the end of his term.
“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 rancor and find common ground and shared purpose.”