WASHINGTON (WJZ) — A day after a group of rioters breached the U.S. Capitol as lawmakers worked to count the Electoral College votes from the 2020 presidential election, President Donald Trump condemned what he called the “heinous attack” on the nation’s seat of government.
In a video on Twitter Thursday evening, the president’s first post on the social networking site since it temporarily blocked him from posting, he decried what he called “violence, outlaw and mayhem.”
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“America is and must always be a country of law and order,” he said. “The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy. To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country,” he said.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2021
The rioters, carrying Trump flags and chanting “Stop the Steal!,” breached the Capitol Wednesday afternoon, forcing lawmakers to seek shelter and leaving shattered windows and other damage behind. A San Diego woman with Maryland ties and three other people died, the latter three from medical issues. At least 82 people, including nine Marylanders, were arrested.
Thursday night, news broke that a U.S. Capitol Police officer also died from injuries stemming from the riot.
Hours before Trump returned to social media, White House spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany spoke briefly to reporters, saying the president and the administration condemn the violence “in the strongest possible terms.”
“What we saw yesterday was a group of violent rioters undermining the legitimate First Amendment rights of the many thousands who came to peacefully have their voices heard in our nation’s capital. Those who violently besieged out Capitol are the opposite of everything this administration stands for,” she said.
Both McEnany and Trump said they are focused now on transitioning power to the incoming administration. Neither contested the results of the election as the president did in a since-removed Twitter video on Wednesday. In that video, Trump urged the group to “go home” but continued to assert the election was stolen from him.
Instead, Trump said on Thursday he “vigorously pursued every legal avenue to contest the election results” to “ensure the integrity of the vote.”
“I continue to strongly believe that we must reform our election laws to verify the identity and eligibility of all voters and to ensure faith and confidence in all future elections,” he said while acknowledging President-elect Joe Biden will take office in less than two weeks.
Trump ended with a call for “healing and reconciliation.”
“We must revitalize the sacred bonds of love and loyalty that bind us together as one national family… and to all of my wonderful supporters, I know you are disappointed but I also want you to know that our incredible journey is just beginning.”