Within hours of becoming the first president to be impeached twice, President Trump posted a video to the White House Twitter account on Wednesday evening condemning the storming of the Capitol complex by his supporters last week and urging his followers to a repeat in & # 39; the coming years & # 39; to avoid. days both here in Washington and across the country. "
Mr. Trump recorded the video under pressure from aides, who have warned him that he may be legally exposed to the riot that took place immediately after a speech urging them to "fight the election results". ;, which he falsely claimed. was stolen.
The president did not mention his own role in inciting violence last week. On Tuesday, he defended the comments he made at a rally before his supporters marched to the Capitol as "perfectly appropriate", saying Congress's attempt to overthrow and condemn him "caused enormous anger."
He also did not acknowledge the loss of life or his own false claims that the election was stolen in the two months leading up to last week's rally.
The video came shortly after Senator Mitch McConnell from Kentucky, the Republican leader, made it clear in a statement that he was open to vote to condemn the president. article of impeachment – a big change from a year ago when Mr. McConnell lashed co-chairmen against a conviction in the president's first impeachment trial. Just before the House ousted him on Wednesday afternoon, Trump issued a statement to his supporters calling on Americans to "ease tensions and calm things down."
In the video, the president did not name the five people who died as a result of the violence in the Capitol. But he did go further in his language than ever before, as the police brace themselves for new uprisings in Washington and across the country next week.
"As I said, the US Capitol raid hit the heart of our Republic," Trump said, his most powerful statement following a few attempts that offered a fig leaf to his supporters last week. "It angered and upset millions of Americans across the political spectrum."
"I want to be very clear," he continued. “I unequivocally condemn the violence we saw last week. Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country, nor in our movement. Making America great again has always been about defending the rule of law ”and supporting law enforcement officials.
During the riot of his supporters, a Capitol police officer sustained serious head injuries and later died.
As a 2016 candidate, Mr. Trump once encouraged participants of the rally to physically assault protesters. But in the video on Wednesday, he said that “mafia violence goes against everything I believe in and everything our movement stands for. No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence. "
"If you do any of these things, you don't support our movement, you attack it and you attack our country," he said. "We cannot tolerate it."
Of the reports of new demonstrations next week, Mr. Trump said, "There must be no violence, no violations of law and no vandalism of any kind."
Michael Gold contributed reporting.