In a video message released Wednesday shortly after he became the first U.S. president to be impeached twice, President Donald Trump condemned the violence he incited at the Capitol last week, but made no mention of lawmakers impeaching him.
“I want to be very clear, I unequivocally condemn the violence that we saw last week,” Trump said in a video tweeted from the White House account.
“Mob violence goes against everything I believe in,” he said, referring to the violent insurrection at the Capitol led by his ardent supporters. “No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence ... could ever disrespect law enforcement.”
Trump was impeached due to his role in inciting a violent mob of his supporters in their siege of the Capitol last Wednesday, after repeating lies and conspiracy theories that the election was stolen.
Pro-Trump rioters stormed the building, threatened journalists, attacked police and caused lawmakers to flee for their safety. Five people died in connection with the riot, including one Capitol police officer.
In the video, Trump said he was “shocked and deeply saddened by the calamity at the Capitol” and urged demonstrations planned in the coming days to be “respectful and peaceful.”
Exactly one week after the riots, members of the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump in a 232-197 vote on Wednesday, with 10 Republicans joining Democrats in favor of impeachment.
Next, Trump faces a trial in the Senate, which will likely take place after President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated next week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declined to bring the Senate back early on an emergency basis to consider impeachment. The Republican leader said he is still undecided on how he will vote, saying he is awaiting the “legal arguments” presented to the Senate.
In the video, Trump also spoke out against what he called an “unprecedented assault on free speech” in recent days, saying that “efforts to censor, cancel and blacklist our fellow citizens are wrong and they are dangerous.”
Just days after the Capitol riots, Twitter permanently banned Trump’s account, after he recently repeatedly tweeted lies about the election being fraudulent and, throughout his presidency, shared violent rhetoric in his posts.
Twitter said decision was made “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” Facebook and YouTube also indefinitely banned Trump from their platforms.