A day after the US saw an unprecedented siege of the Capitol Hill by pro-Trump supporters and violence that led to the death of four people, President Trump on Friday (January 8) called the incident ‘heinous’ and said those who broke the law will pay for it.
“Like all Americans, I am outraged by the violence, lawlessness, and mayhem,” Trump said in a recorded video message posted on YouTube and Twitter on Thursday and released by the White House.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2021
“America is and always be a nation of law and order. The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy. To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country. To those who broke the law, you will pay,” Trump said.
Vowing to ensure a peaceful and smooth transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden, Trump said now is the time for “healing and reconciliation”.
“We have just been through an intense election and emotions are high, but now tempers must be cooled, and calm restored,” he said.
“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…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.”
The outgoing president asserted 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.
“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.
Just hours before the video was released, Trump had continued to claim that the election had been stolen from him.
(With inputs from agencies)