President Donald Trump publicly acknowledged that he would leave office on January 20 for the first time Thursday, pledging an orderly transfer of power after Congress affirmed President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in the statement, repeating false claims he has made throughout the last two months. “I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again.”
Trump, who has refused to concede the election, had on Wednesday egged on supporters who would later storm the US Capitol in an attempt to stop lawmakers from counting the electoral votes. The riot left four people dead — one woman was shot and three others had medical emergencies, according to police — and left some in Trump’s Cabinet holding preliminary talks about invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office, according to a well-placed GOP source.
After a speech filled with lies and misrepresentations that incensed the crowd, Trump returned to the White House to watch a violent crescendo to his constant spreading of misinformation about the electoral process. The mob broke into the Capitol, stormed both the House and Senate floor and Trump supporters could be seen lounging in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office.
A woman was shot and killed in the chaos. Police have yet to release more details about her death.
Republicans and Democrats alike condemned the rioters for breaching the US Capitol, and several lawmakers blamed Trump for the violence that broke out that delayed the certification of Biden’s victory for several hours.
In remarks Wednesday afternoon, Biden called on Trump to appear on national television “to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege.”
On Wednesday night, undeterred by the violence and the threats, lawmakers returned to the House chamber to continue counting the votes.
Trump did not say in his statement whether he plans to attend the inauguration of Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on January 20.