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Trump accepts US election result, condemns Capitol riots

By Lalit K Jha
Last updated on: January 08, 2021 12:56 IST
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Donald Trump has finally condemned the mayhem caused by his supporters in the US Capitol, saying they do not represent America, as the beleaguered president vowed to ensure a "smooth, orderly and seamless" transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden.

 

In a new video message, a day after he urged the crowds to head for the Capitol, where they forced their way inside, Trump said America is, and must always be a nation of law and order.

“Like all Americans, I am outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem. I immediately deployed the national guard and federal law enforcement to secure the building and expel the intruders,” Trump said in the recorded video posted on YouTube on Thursday and released by the White House.

The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy, he said.

“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. We have just been through an intense election and emotions are high, but now tempers must be cooled, and calm restored,” he said.

Delivered in monotone and read from a teleprompter, Trump's remarks bore little resemblance to those on Wednesday, in which he told his rioting supporters, "We love you."

In an unprecedented assault on democracy in the US, thousands of supporters of outgoing President Trump stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday and clashed with police, resulting in four deaths and interrupting a constitutional process by Congress to affirm the victory of Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in the November 3 election.

Trump, who is facing pressure from members of his Republican Party and a potential impeachment, also accepted the result of the election and pledged a smooth transition of power to Biden.

Biden will be sworn in as the 46th US President on January 20. Amidst the chaos and violence, US Congress on Thursday early morning verified the Electoral College victory of Biden and Harris.

“Now, Congress has certified the results a new administration will be inaugurated on January 20th. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power,” Trump said.

“We must get on with the business of America. My campaign vigorously pursued every legal avenue to contest the election results. My only goal was to ensure the integrity of the vote and so doing, I was fighting to defend American democracy,” said the outgoing president.

Trump said that he continues to strongly believe that the US must reform election laws to verify the identity and eligibility of all voters and to ensure faith and confidence in all future elections.

Observing that the moment calls for healing and reconciliation, Trump said that 2020 has been a challenging time for Americans.

“A menacing pandemic has upended the lives of our citizens, isolated millions in their homes, damaged our economy and claimed countless lives,” he said.

“Defeating this pandemic and rebuilding the greatest economy on earth will require all of us working together. It will require a renewed emphasis on the civic values of patriotism, faith, charity, community, and family,” he said.

Earlier, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters that the violence at the Capitol Hill was appalling, reprehensible, and antithetical to the American way.

“We condemn it -- the president and this administration -- in the strongest possible terms. It is unacceptable, and those that broke the law should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” she said.

“Those who violently besieged our Capitol are the opposite of everything this administration stands for. The core value of our administration is the idea that all citizens have the right to live in safety, peace, and freedom,” she said.

Trump, who hours before the video had continued to claim falsely that the election had been stolen from him, said that "serving as your president has been the honour of my lifetime".

Throughout Wednesday evening and into Thursday, Trump faced resignations from senior staffers and fresh efforts from Opposition Democrats interested in filing new articles of impeachment against the Republican president.

Talk of invoking the 25th Amendment also appeared to escalate, though Vice President Mike Pence has not discussed the matter with members of the Cabinet. Trump also appeared to be confronting potential legal questions about his role in inciting the unprecedented riots.

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Lalit K Jha
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