Trump calls for ‘NO violence’ amid concerns of threats around inauguration
President Trump discouraged acts of violence in a written statement Wednesday and called on Americans to help “ease tensions and calm tempers.”
The White House disseminated the statement from Trump as the House was preparing to impeach him for inciting a violent riot at the U.S. Capitol last week that left five people dead.
“In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind,” Trump said. “That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You.”
His words came amid growing concerns about threats surrounding President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week.
The statement was first provided to Fox News and later released by the White House. Trump has been largely quiet since Twitter suspended his account last week “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”
Trump did not mention the impeachment proceedings in his statement. On Tuesday, he told reporters that the impeachment effort was causing “tremendous anger” and endangering the country. Trump has already been impeached once.
“For Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to continue on this path, I think it’s causing tremendous danger to our country and it’s causing tremendous anger,” Trump told reporters at the White House as he departed for a trip to Texas, adding: “I want no violence.”
At least six Republican lawmakers have announced plans to vote in favor of Trump’s impeachment, including House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the third most powerful GOP member in the lower chamber.
Trump has been widely criticized for his role in the riots at the Capitol last week; he delivered remarks to supporters urging them to fight the election results and head to the Capitol before the violence broke out last Wednesday.
“The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President,” Cheney said in a statement announcing plans to vote in favor of impeachment. “There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”
The president, however, has signaled he bore no responsibility for the violence, telling reporters Tuesday that his remarks before the attack were “totally appropriate.”
Officials have warned of the possibility of armed protests in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere across the country leading up to Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20. As many as 20,000 National Guard troops will be stationed in D.C. to increase security before the inauguration. The Secret Service began special security precautions for the events on Wednesday, a week earlier than initially planned.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) and other local leaders have discouraged people from traveling to watch the inauguration, urging them to participate virtually instead due to risks of both violence and the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump, meanwhile, has faced pressure to urge peace ahead of the inauguration, which he does not plan to attend.
“I call on President Trump to address the nation and explicitly urge his supporters to remain peaceful and refrain from violence,” Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said Tuesday.
“If our nation experiences additional violence and destruction at the hands of his supporters … and he does not directly and unambiguously speak out now when threats are known, he will bear responsibility,” Portman continued.
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