President Trump acknowledged that President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in during his first speech since violence engulfed the Capitol.
In a brief video released to Twitter on Thursday, Trump addressed the rioting, which began after his supporters rallied outside the White House before moving to Capitol Hill on Wednesday afternoon. He called it a “heinous attack” and said he was “outraged by the violence, lawlessness, and mayhem.”
“The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy,” he said. “To those who engage in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country.” The president added that those who broke laws “will pay.”
Trump acknowledged his Electoral College defeat but hinted at future political moves.
“Now, Congress has certified the votes. A new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20,” Trump said. “Serving as your president has been the honor of my lifetime, and to all of my wonderful supporters, I know you are disappointed, but I also want you to know that our incredible journey is only just beginning.”
The speech comes amid calls from Democrats for Trump to be impeached or for his Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment and replace him with Vice President Mike Pence. Trump’s former chief of staff, John Kelly, said on Thursday that he would support Trump’s removal from office if he were still part of the Cabinet.
One pro-Trump demonstrator was fatally shot during the chaos, and three other people died during the Wednesday violence, which started after Congress began its formal count of the Electoral College vote. After being put into recess, Congress reconvened Thursday night and handed Biden his victory in the early hours of Thursday morning.
On Thursday, Biden, who is set to be sworn in on Jan. 20, described the Capitol Hill unrest as “one of the darkest days in the history of our nation.”
“Don’t dare call them protesters. They were a riotous mob. Insurrectionists. Domestic terrorists,” the president-elect said.
Biden transition spokesman Andrew Bates addressed the 25th Amendment rumblings in a statement on Thursday and said that Biden is focused on the transition and will “leave it to Vice President Pence, the Cabinet and the Congress to act as they see fit.”
The video post was Trump’s first after he was temporarily locked out of Twitter for remarks he made Wednesday about the events on Capitol Hill. Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram have all locked the president out of his accounts, although it is unclear if those companies have also restored access.