Donald Trump has conceded, more than a day after he incited a mob to attack the US Capitol
Mr Trump urged an end to the violence and finally acknowledged that Joe Biden will be the next president, saying in a video statement that “a new administration will be inaugurated on January 20”. He also promised a smooth transition of power.
In an an apparent U-turn and unexpected change of tone on Thursday evening, the president accused violent demonstrators of “defiling the seat of American democracy” and said those who broke the law “will pay”.
“My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power,” said Mr Trump, reading from a teleprompter. “This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”
He added: “Serving as your president has been the honour of my lifetime.”
“My campaign vigorously pursued every legal avenue to contest the election results. My only goal was to ensure the integrity of the vote,” said Trump, despite no evidence that the election was anything but safe, and assurances by his own attorney general that there was no widespread voter fraud.
Trump’s latest video statement came amid growing calls for the 25th Amendment to be invoked.
The 25th amendment allows a majority of the cabinet to remove a president from power if he is unable to discharge the duties of the office.
There has also been a growing list of administration figures – including the education secretary, Betsy DeVos, and the transportation secretary, Elaine Chao who have resigned in the wake of the attack.
Mr Trump’s video was his first address to the nation for more than 24 hours after Twitter suspended his account on Wednesday, citing “repeated and severe” violations of its civic integrity policies. Facebook has said it would close his account “indefinitely”.