President Donald Trump is seen tapping the screen on a mobile phone at the approximate time a tweet was released from his Twitter account, during a roundtable discussion on the reopening of small businesses in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 18, 2020.
Leah Millis | Reuters
Trump shared a video message that was as close to a concession speech as the public has heard from him, acknowledging a new administration would soon take over and urging calm. Trump said he had pursued “every legal avenue to contest the election results” with the sole purpose of ensuring the integrity of the election. While he said he believes election laws must be reformed, he recognized Congress had certified the results and that there would be a transition of power.
“Now tempers must be cooled, and calm restored. We must get on with the business of America,” Trump said. “A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”
Trump also condemned the rioters who stormed on the U.S. Capitol Wednesday as lawmakers finalized the tally representing Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.
“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,” Trump says in the video.
Trump’s message came after many lawmakers blamed him for calling on supporters to protest the election results and “stop the steal” despite presenting disputed evidence and having his claims of fraud shot down in courts around the country. Trump supporters bearing flags and shirts with his name forced their way into the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday and in the chaos, one person was shot by Capitol Police.
On Thursday, many lawmakers and former Trump staffers and appointees called for Trump’s removal from office following the riot. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called for Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to do so, threatening to potentially move forward with impeachment if he refused.
Twitter said it had locked Trump out of his account for posting tweets that it said violated its policies. Earlier, Trump had asked for his supporters not to use violence, but later he posted a video message that also reiterated his unsubstantiated claims that the election was stolen and said “we love you” to the rioters.
Twitter said Wednesday Trump would not be able to post from his account until 12 hours after he removed the violating tweets.
Facebook went further on Thursday, opting to indefinitely bar Trump from its platform and assuring he would at least be locked out for the rest of his presidential term. Facebook had initially said it would ban Trump for 24 hours, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday, “We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.”