In a new video message, Trump said America is, and must always be a nation of law and order.
“Like all Americans, I am outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem. I immediately deployed the national guard and federal law enforcement to secure the building and expel the intruders,” Trump said in the recorded video posted on YouTube on Thursday and released by the White House.
The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy, he added.
“To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law, you will pay. We have just been through an intense election and emotions are high, but now tempers must be cooled, and calm restored,” he said.
In an unprecedented assault on democracy in the US, thousands of supporters of outgoing President Trump stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday and clashed with police, resulting in four deaths and interrupting a constitutional process by Congress to affirm the victory of Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in the November 3 election.
Trump also accepted the result of the election and pledged a “smooth transition” of power to Biden.
“Now, Congress has certified the results a new administration will be inaugurated on January 20th. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power,” Trump said.
“We must get on with the business of America. My campaign vigorously pursued every legal avenue to contest the election results. My only goal was to ensure the integrity of the vote and so doing, I was fighting to defend American democracy,” said the outgoing president.
Trump said that he continues to strongly believe that the US must reform election laws to verify the identity and eligibility of all voters and to ensure faith and confidence in all future elections.
Observing that the moment calls for healing and reconciliation, Trump said that 2020 has been a challenging time for Americans.
“A menacing pandemic has upended the lives of our citizens, isolated millions in their homes, damaged our economy and claimed countless lives,” he said.
“Defeating this pandemic and rebuilding the greatest economy on earth will require all of us working together. It will require a renewed emphasis on the civic values of patriotism, faith, charity, community, and family,” he said.
Earlier White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters that the violence at the Capitol Hill was appalling, reprehensible, and antithetical to the American way.
“We condemn it — the president and this administration — in the strongest possible terms. It is unacceptable, and those that broke the law should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” she said.
“Those who violently besieged our Capitol are the opposite of everything this administration stands for. The core value of our administration is the idea that all citizens have the right to live in safety, peace, and freedom,” she said.
Trump, who hours before the video had continued to claim falsely that the election had been stolen from him, said that “serving as your president has been the honour of my lifetime”.