With the establishment Republican Party abandoning him and two cabinet members and several administration officials resigning over his incendiary role in the attack on the US Capitol, a subdued Trump claimed he was “outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem” and called for cooling of tempers in the face of charges across the board that he instigated his supporters.
“Congress has certified the results, and a new administration will be inaugurated on January 20. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth orderly and seamless transition of power,” Trump said in video message read on a teleprompter in what is the closest he has come to conceding defeat.
In a tweet on Friday morning, he also announced that he will not attend Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20.
To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 1610120668000
Trump’s capitulation came soon after a police officer who was injured in what is now being described in some quarters as a terrorist attack by the President’s supporters on the US Capitol died, bringing to five the fatalities in the barbaric event. The cop was reportedly hit over the head with a fire extinguisher by the MAGA mob, triggering a murder investigation.
The disgraced President, called sick and mentally unstable by some conservative pundits who long glossed over his excesses, taped the message after he was reportedly warned by a White House counsel that he could face legal charges for stoking the mob. His administration’s own Justice Department did not rule out the possibility.
“We are looking at all actors, not only the people who went into the (US Capitol) building,” Michael Sherwin, the US attorney in Washington, said at a press conference.
Democratic lawmakers in Congress began drawing up articles of impeachment which some Republicans pledged to support. The party’s leadership- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate leader Chuck Schumer- though said they preferred the Trump cabinet invoke the 25th amendment to remove the President from office, and only if it failed would they consider impeachment, for which there is very little time.
Pelosi and Schumer said they tried calling Pence to discuss the issue but he did not take their call. Meanwhile, at least two Trump cabinet members – transportation secretary Elaine Chao, who is married to Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and education secretary Betsy Devos, resigned, ostensibly to avoid taking a call on the 25th amendment, although they castigated Trump for instigating violence.
Like many Republican officials and lawmakers, they stood by Trump and enabled him through his most grotesque excesses over four years, including inciting supporters against the media, encouraging violence against critics and protestors, and lampooning the disabled.
Trump’s scripted remarks, in which he did not congratulate or welcome the incoming President, were greeted with scorn and likened to a hostage video made under duress, with critics expecting “Teleprompter Trump” to return to his usual inflammatory self once the crisis has passed.
Trump concluding his video message saying, “To all of my wonderful supporters. I know you are disappointed, but I also want you to know that our incredible journey is only just beginning.”