President Donald Trump on Thursday called on the country to heal and have faith following civil unrest at the U.S. Capitol.
Trump told Americans that he has now turned his focus on ensuring a “smooth, orderly, and seamless transition of power” to a new administration that will be inaugurated on Jan. 20, in a brief video message released on Thursday evening.
Hours earlier, Congress certified the electoral votes for former Vice President Joe Biden in an emotionally-charged joint session. This came after a group of protestors waving American and Trump flags stormed in the Capitol building. The mayhem left at least four people dead—three for medical reasons—and dozens of police officers injured, D.C. police said.
“This moment calls for healing and reconciliation,” Trump said. “2020 has been a challenging time for our people, a menacing pandemic has upended the lives of our citizens, isolated millions in their homes, damaged our economy, and claimed countless lives.”
“Defeating this pandemic and rebuilding the greatest economy on earth will require all of us working together.
“It will require a renewed emphasis on the civic values of patriotism, faith, charity, community, and family. We must revitalize the sacred bonds of love and loyalty that bind us together as one national family.”
The president also condemned the acts of violence that transpired during the protests that disrupted lawmakers during their joint session where they were counting Electoral College votes. Lawmakers were forced to suspend their sessions and shelter in place as police and security attempted to seize control of the situation.
“Like all Americans, I am outraged by the violence, lawlessness, and mayhem,” Trump said. “I immediately deployed the National Guard and federal law enforcement to secure the building and expel the intruders.”
“America is and must always be a nation of law and order. The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy.”
He warned that people who broke the law would have to “pay,” adding that those who engaged in violence and destruction “do not represent our country.”
“We have just been through an intense election and emotions are high. But now tempers must be cooled and calm restored,” he said.
The media, lawmakers, former officials, and other critics have put the blame on Trump for Wednesday’s incident. The president had addressed a crowd in Washington D.C. where he reiterated his allegations about election irregularities and fraud and his dissatisfaction for the media and several lawmakers.
As protesters moved their demonstration to the U.S. Capitol, Trump had been posting on Twitter throughout the afternoon urging his supporters to remain peaceful. He also released a video, which has since been taken down by Twitter, that called on his supporters to “go home now.”
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany also said in a statement on Wednesday that the president had authorized the National Guard to assist with the situation at the U.S. Capitol.
The events on Wednesday has sparked a review of security protocols of the U.S. Capitol over the breach, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced.
“Yesterday represented a massive failure of institutions, protocols, and planning that are supposed to protect the first branch of our federal government,” McConnell said in a statement. “A painstaking investigation and thorough review must now take place and significant changes must follow.”
He added that initial bipartisan discussions have commenced in congressional committees of oversight and congressional leadership.
Fifty-five people have since been charged within 36 hours related mostly to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, according to Michael Sherwin, acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.