President Donald Trump condemned supporters who stormed Capitol Hill in stronger terms on Thursday, calling for renewed bonds of patriotism during the transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden.
“This moment calls for healing and reconciliation,” Trump said. “2020 has been a challenging time for our people.”
The president addressed the nation in a video posted to Twitter after the platform lifted the suspension of his account. Twitter suspended his account Wednesday after he appeared to defend the actions of the rioters in the Capitol building.
But the president changed his tone, returning to his campaign theme of law and order.
“The demonstrators who infiltrated the capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy,” Trump said. “To those who engage in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country, and to those who broke the law, you will pay.”
Trump said that he was “outraged” by the lawlessness he witnessed, and he deployed the national guard “immediately” to help defend the building, despite reporting that he first resisted the idea.
“America is and must always be a nation of law and order,” Trump said, adding that although “emotions are high” after the election, “tempers must be cooled.”
The president recalled that he pursued every legal avenue to contest the election, defending his efforts as a way to defend American democracy and the integrity of the vote. He said he would turn his focus toward a smooth transition of power to the next administration.
Trump called for renewed civic values to help restore the country at a time of transition.
“We must revitalize the sacred bonds of love and loyalty that bind us together as one national family,” he said.
Trump said that serving his country as the president was the “honor of my lifetime” and thanked his supporters.
“To all of my wonderful supporters, I know that you are disappointed, but I also want you to know that our incredible journey is only just beginning,” he concluded.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2021