Jan 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

As allies abandon him, Trump says he'll plan for "seamless transition of power"

President Trump in a video on Thursday condemned the mob that violently stormed the U.S. Capitol one day earlier, saying the rioters "defiled the seat of American democracy."

Why it matters via Axios' Alayna Treene: We're only seeing this concession after his fiercest allies have begun to abandon him.

The big picture: Though Trump stressed the country should reform its election laws, he acknowledged a "new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20," and he said he will focus on a "seamless transition of power."

  • He did not repeat the baseless allegations of election theft as he has in previous statements since the riot on Capitol Hill.

The state of play: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday called for Vice President Mike Pence and members of Trump’s Cabinet to remove him from office via the 25th Amendment.

  • Pelosi accused Trump of committing “seditious acts” by encouraging his supporters to go to the Capitol, and she threatened to pursue impeachment if Pence and the Cabinet members did not act.

What he's saying: "The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy," the president said in his first tweet since his account was locked by the social media company.

  • "To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law, you will pay.”
  • “My campaign vigorously pursued every legal avenue to contest the election results. My only goal was to ensure the integrity of the vote. In so doing, I was fighting to defend American democracy.”
  • "I continue to strongly believe that we must reform our election laws to verify the identity and eligibility of all voters and ensure faith and confidence in all future elections."
  • "Now Congress has certified the results. A new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation."

Of note: Though Trump claimed he “immediately” deployed the National Guard to secure the Capitol, multiple media outlets reported that the president hesitated to order the guard to support law enforcement in securing the building.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Margaret Talev: Everything President Trump said tonight is what he should have said yesterday afternoon. Instead, his rhetoric comes after it’s too late to protect lives or the Capitol, but as congressional Dems threaten a second impeachment, several of his own aides resign in protest, and those staying vow to hem him in.

  • Treene notes that Trump says he is outraged by the violence, but the president initially told the rioters to march down Pennsylvania Ave. to the Capitol, and later he said "We love you" after the mobs breached the Capitol walls.

Go deeper: Republicans oppose removing Trump over Capitol siege

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