Following a day of chaos in the nation’s capital, President Donald Trump has conceded the 2020 presidential election and calls for “healing and reconciliation” in a new video posted on Thursday.
Trump began the video by addressing the “heinous attack” that took place on Wednesday when a mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, which resulted in at least four deaths and several dozen injuries. After facing intense criticism for inciting his supporters and justifying the siege, Trump now says he is “outraged” by it: “The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol has defiled the seat of American democracy. 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.”
The outgoing president — whose defeat at the hands of Democratic challenger Joe Biden was certified by Congress late on Wednesday after order was restored — spoke of his efforts to overturn the election results in the past tense and then called for peace: “Tempers must be cooled, and calm restored.” He conceded that “a new administration will be inaugurated on January 20th. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”
Trump came under fire for repeatedly and baselessly questioning the election results (even though several dozen lawsuits filed by his campaign in multiple states went nowhere) and then rallying his supporters outside the Capitol as the electoral college votes were about to be tallied on Wednesday, just before the crowd burst into the building. Several of Trump’s tweets were censored by Twitter on Wednesday for violating the site’s rules, and Facebook took the unusual step of banning Trump indefinitely, for at least two weeks until Biden can be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20.
In light of this week’s events, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called for Trump to be removed from office, either by the 25th Amendment, which calls for a President’s cabinet to replace him if he’s “unable to discharge the powers and duties” of the office, or by a second round of impeachment hearings. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment on Thursday and threatened to begin impeachment proceedings if he declines to do so.