US President Donald Trump on Wednesday called on his supporters who stormed the US Capitol to leave, while telling them, “We love you,” and continuing to make false claims that he won the presidential election.
The video was posted to social media hours after protesters began storming the Capitol as lawmakers convened for an extraordinary joint session to confirm the Electoral College results and President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Twitter and Facebook later deleted the video.
Under immense pressure to condemn the mob violence that he incited at a rally earlier, Trump released a video saying, “I know your pain, I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side. But you have to go home now.
“We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt,” Trump said.
“This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people… so go home. We love you. You’re very special,” he said.
This is the tweet by President Trump that Twitter has now removed. pic.twitter.com/83b6kRjvqS
— Paul Danahar (@pdanahar) January 6, 2021
Republican lawmakers and previous administration officials had begged Trump to give a statement to his supporters to quell the violence.
The statement came as authorities struggled to take control of a chaotic situation at the Capitol that led to the evacuation of lawmakers.
Later he appeared to justify the violence as inevitable.
“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” he tweeted. “Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”
Twitter later appended a note disputing Trump’s claim of winning the elections and blocked people from replying, retweeting or sharing the video “due to a risk of violence.”
Several minutes later the social media site deleted both tweets, an almost unprecedented step with the American president’s account.
The video was also subsequently removed by Facebook, “because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence,” said the site’s head of integrity, Guy Rosen.
A joint session of Congress had convened to certified Biden’s election victory. But as that was occurring, Trump addressed thousands of demonstrators who had amassed outside the Capitol to cheer his baseless claims of voter fraud and to protest the results of a free and fair election because the candidate they support lost it.
During the rally Trump vowed he would “never concede” the election and urged the massive crowd to march on the Capitol building.
“We will never give up,” Trump told his supporters.
Rioters then breached barricades, shoved aside police and stormed the halls of US democracy in astonishing scenes of lawlessness and chaos.
Rioters were filmed smashing windows to enter the Capitol building, milling about its halls, rummaging in the offices of US officials and looting a podium. At least one protester was shot and critically injured by law enforcement. She later died.
The rioters forced both chambers of Congress to abruptly recess as they were debating the Electoral College vote, with Senators and House Representatives donning gas masks and scrambling for safety.
Biden called for the restoration of “just simple decency” as a mob ransacked the Capitol.
He said the uprising bordered on sedition, adding, “The scenes of chaos at the capitol do not reflect a true America, do not represent who we are.”