Trump reacts to impeachment, ‘unequivocally’ condemns Capitol violence
President Donald Trump delivered another taped video address to the nation Wednesday following his impeachment in the House over ‘incitement of insurrection’ – where he repeatedly denounced violence following the MAGA riot in the Capitol.
His pre-taped comment came after Democrats repeatedly accused him of causing the riot that left six dead and the Capitol vandalized but did not mention that he had been impeached again, an unprecedented rebuke of a presiddent.
Ten House Republicans joined Democrats in voting 232-197 for a House impeachment article – setting up a Senate trial even after Trump leaves office – something he only belatedly acknowledged he would do.
Trump spoke straight to the camera, as he did in a previous video where he acknowledged last week for the first time that there would be a transition in power the day after his supporters invaded the Capitol and clashed with Capitol Police, leaving one officer dead. Another took his own life after the riots.
This time, Trump didn’t tweet out the statement, because Twitter has blocked his account after the Capitol riot that killed five. Instead it came from the official White House account, which Twitter told NBC News was permitted.
The president said the riot “angered and appalled millions of Americans across the political spectrum”.
“I want to be very clear. I unequivocally condemn the violence that we saw last week,” Trump said, clearly reading from a prompter.
“Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country – and no place in our movement”.
His appeal came amid warnings from law enforcement of further violence during the handover on January 20 – and grave threats to his own political future through impeachment. The Senate is not only moving ahead with a trial, but will hold a vote to bar Trump from holding future office if he is convicted.
His statements were unequivocal – but followed a series of public comments where he made statements that could be seen to justify violence with a wink, including telling his supporters at the speech in The Ellipse before they marched on the Capitol: “We’re going to have to fight much harder.”
“We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them, because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong,” he said then – a stark contrast to his address from the Oval Office.
Trump on Wednesday defended his movement, after rioters decked out in Trump gear were seen fighting with police, and even beating officers with American flags.