After impeachment over Capitol riot, Trump releases video condemning violence
WASHINGTON - After being impeached by the House for a second time, President Donald Trump released a video Wednesday condemning the "calamity" at the U.S. Capitol by his supporters and saying "no true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence."
Earlier Wednesday, Trump became the only president in U.S. history to be impeached twice in his final days in office. He faces a single charge of "incitement of insurrection," accused of encouraging the mob of loyalists on Jan. 6 to "fight like hell" against election results just before they stormed the Capitol.
A Capitol police officer died from injuries suffered in the riot, and police shot and killed a woman during the siege. Three other people died in what authorities said were medical emergencies. Lawmakers had to scramble for safety and hide as rioters took control of the Capitol and delayed by hours the last step in finalizing President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
In the 5 minute video shared to the official White House Twitter account, Trump disavowed "mob violence," saying it goes against "everything I believe in and everything our movement stands for."
"No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence. No true supporter of mine could ever disrespect law enforcement or our great American flag. No true supporter of mine could ever threaten or harass their fellow Americans. if you do any of these things, you are not supporting our movement," Trump said in the video filmed in the Oval Office.
Minutes before his supporters stormed the Capitol, Trump encouraged them to march on the seat of the nation’s government where lawmakers were tallying Electoral College votes affirming Biden’s victory. Trump, for months, had also spread false claims that the November election was fraudulent, despite his own administration’s findings to the contrary.
As rioters were still in the Capitol, Trump released a video seemingly excusing the events, saying of the rioters: "We love you. You’re very special."
The storming of the Capitol led to security concerns ahead of Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20. The FBI issued a bulletin warning of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitols and in Washington, and thousands of National Guard members have been deployed to Washington, D.C. as a result.
Trump earlier called for no violence amid the FBI warnings.
"In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind," Trump said in a statement from the White House press office. "That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You."
House members for the first time were also required to go through a metal detector before being allowed to enter the chamber, something that will stay in effect every day the House is in session for the foreseeable future, according to a directive by Timothy Blodgett, the acting House sergeant-at-arms.
Blodgett replaced the longtime sergeant-at-arms who resigned after widespread criticism about poor security planning for the Jan. 6 certification vote.
This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.