President Donald Trump issued a strong message urging against further violence one week after a deadly riot took place at the U.S. Capitol, and eight days before Joe Biden is set to be inaugurated as the next U.S. president.
In a statement shared by the White House on Wednesday, Trump said violence “is not what America stands for” and urged Americans on both sides of the political aisle to “help ease tensions.”
His remarks came after the FBI warned that armed protests were being planned in all 50 states and in the nation’s capital ahead of Wednesday’s inauguration ceremony, when Biden will be sworn on the same Capitol steps that rioters stormed just last week.
“That is not what I stand for”
This year, some 10,000 National Guard troops are joining U.S. Secret Service and other agencies to provide security for the event, which will be closed to the public, according to a report from the Associated Press.
“In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind,” the president said in his statement Wednesday.
“That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for,” Trump added. “I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You.”
Trump impeached – again
Despite his pleas for peace, Trump has been blamed by Democrats and even a few Republicans for the riot at the Capitol last week. He encouraged supporters to rally in Washington on Jan. 6 to show support for GOP objections to the Electoral College results certified by some states, and even spoke at the event before his supporters took over the Capitol — but notably, many legal scholars have said the president’s remarks don’t amount to incitement, at least under current legal standards.
“Mr. Trump never quite encouraged violence, legally speaking,” lawyer Suzanne Nossel wrote for The New York Times on Wednesday. “[A]s incendiary and irresponsible as Mr. Trump’s Jan. 6 remarks were, a court would be unlikely to conclude that they advocated violence under the strict operative legal standard.”
Still, President Trump was impeached for a second time on Wednesday after 232 members of the House voted in favor of the move, including 10 Republicans, the Times reported. The Senate will not reconvene in time to hold a trial before Trump leaves office, however.
“We cannot tolerate it”
In the wake of his impeachment, Trump released a video message Wednesday night from the official White House Twitter account. (His personal account had been suspended permanently following the Capitol riot.)
“Mob violence goes against everything I believe in and everything our movement stands for,” Trump said in the video, according to Fox News. “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.”
The president went on: “If you do any of these things, you are not supporting our movement. You are attacking it and you are attacking our country. We cannot tolerate it.”