Amid a spate of resignations of his aides and the death of a US Capitol police officer in violence, President Donald Trump in a video message on Thursday night condemned the storming of the US Capitol and said he would prepare for the administration of President-elect Joe Biden.
In a different tone on Thursday, Trump strongly opposed the “heinous attack” on the Capitol, saying he was “outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem.” He expressed his staunch opposition to the “intruders” and condemned the violence that threatened American democracy.
“America is and must always be a nation of law and order, to those who engage in the acts of violence and destruction you do not represent our country,” Trump said in his first public comments after Twitter blocked his account.
“A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20th,” Trump said. “My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power.”
Meanwhile, a US Capitol police officer, Brian Sicknick died due to injuries sustained while resisting the pro-Trump rioters who were attacking the building on Wednesday. In a statement, the US Capitol Police said, “Officer Sicknick was responding to the riots on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, in the US Capitol and was injured while physically engaging with protesters.”
Meanwhile, a swarm of resignations have surfaced since the storming of the Capitol by Trump supporters.
US cabinet members — education secretary Betsy DeVos and transport secretary Elaine Chao– put in their resignations after being “deeply troubled” by the situation. Earlier a number of senior White House staffers, including deputy national security advisor, first lady’s chief of staff among others too resigned. US Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund too has announced his resignation after facing criticism for failing to prevent the attack.
Trump released his video message late on a day of mounting demands for his immediate departure from office — even though his term ends on January 20. They included calls for his resignation, a new impeachment inquiry and for Vice President Mike Pence to undertake extraordinary constitutional measures to oust him.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said Pence and the Trump cabinet should invoke the Constitution’s 25th Amendment, which provides an avenue for the President to be removed. Pence hasn’t responded, and Democrats floated impeachment proceedings as an alternative.
The video was the first post to the president’s Twitter account since the social media network suspended him over his initial response to the violence Wednesday, in which he said he sympathized with the frustration of rioters.