President Donald Trump condemned political violence once more, in stronger terms, after the House of Representatives voted to impeach the president, urging his supporters not to engage in physical violence.
“There is never a justification for violence,” Trump said in a video released by the White House on YouTube. “No excuses. No exceptions. America is a nation of laws.”
The president spoke shortly after the House of Representatives voted to impeach him again, as Democrats blamed him for fueling the violent riots at the Capitol by rallying to contest the election with supporters in Washington, DC.
The vote was 232 to 197, as ten Republicans joined Democrats to support the impeachment resolution. The resolution now goes to the Senate, where the president will likely go on trial in the coming days, even after he leaves office with the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
In his video, Trump “unequivocally” condemned his supporters who stormed Capitol Hill a week ago, and said that there was no place for violence in his political movement.
“Making America great again has always been about defending the rule of law, supporting the men and women of law enforcement, and upholding our nation’s most sacred traditions and values,” Trump said.
The tone of Trump’s comments differed from his remarks on Twitter immediately after the riots, when he appeared to defend the violence as a consequence of the 2020 presidential election getting “unceremoniously and viciously stripped away from great patriots.”
He condemned any violence on behalf of his political movement.
“Mob violence goes against everything I believe in and everything thing our movement stands for,” Trump said, noting that no true supporter of his would commit political violence, threaten or harass fellow Americans, or disrespect law enforcement or the American flag.
“If you do any of these things, you are not supporting our movement, you are attacking it, and you are attacking our country,” he continued. “We cannot tolerate it.”
Trump noted that the country experienced some of the worst political violence in 2020, partially a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have seen too many riots, too many mobs, too many acts of intimidation and destruction,” he said, alluding to the Black Lives Matter protests that scourged the country over the summer. “It must stop.”
Trump urged all Americans to unite to promote peace in the country.
“Whether you are on the right, or the left, a Democrat, or a Republican, there is never a justification for violence,” he said.
Trump noted that he had been briefed about the threats facing the country ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration and vowed that federal and local law enforcement would act to secure the peace.
The president also noted that big tech censorship of conservatives online would only exacerbate political tensions and calls for violence.
“These are tense and difficult times,” he said. “The efforts to censor, cancel, and blacklist our fellow citizens are wrong and they are dangerous. What is needed now is to listen to one another, not to silence one another.”