As the long-awaited joint congressional session to nationally certify President-elect Joe Biden's 2020 election victory over outgoing President Donald Trump was underway, the President addressed a rally of his supporters.
He continued his months-long smear campaign against the integrity of U.S. elections, lying that widespread voter fraud orchestrated by Democrats delivered a false victory to Biden.
Trump urged his supporters to "fight" for him or they wouldn't "have a country anymore." He then urged his supporters to walk over to the Capitol and make their grievances known.
Shortly after, pro-Trump extremists who attended the rally stormed the United States Capitol, forcing the Vice President and other lawmakers to evacuate. The rioters shattered windows, ransacked offices, smeared excrement across the walls, and called for the hanging of Vice President Mike Pence, who was presiding over the session and wouldn't exercise powers unavailable to him by unilaterally tossing out certified electoral votes for Biden.
At least five people died as a result of the riots.
The House has since filed an article of impeachment against the President for inciting an insurrection, which is expected to go to a floor vote on Wednesday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have called for the President to step down or for Pence to rally cabinet secretaries and invoke Section IV of the 25th Amendment to sideline Trump.
In his first public appearance since the deadly violence at the Capitol, the President reacted to the historic second impeachment before jetting off to Alamo, Texas.
Trump on impeachment: "For Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to continue on this path, I think it's causing tremendous… https://t.co/GtexKq7HOr— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1610465971.0
"On the impeachment, it's really a continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics ... This impeachment is causing tremendous anger and you're doing it, and it's really a terrible thing that they're doing. For Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to continue on this path, I think it's causing tremendous danger to our country and it's causing tremendous anger. I want no violence."
Trump insisted that he wanted "no violence, never violence" against his political enemies while simultaneously painting both Pelosi and Schumer—who were targeted at the Capitol Riots—as dangerous to the country.
Trump's caveats of no violence didn't convince his critics that Trump was still inciting violence against political leaders for exercising their Constitutional powers.
Trump is threatening Congress after sending a mob to overthrow the government and keep himself in power. https://t.co/O2mJU9njMG— Adam Serwer 🍝 (@Adam Serwer 🍝) 1610466378.0
It sure sounds like Trump is threatening Pelosi and Schumer with something here and then adding on “I want to no vi… https://t.co/gk13882uCa— Molly Jong-Fast🏡 (@Molly Jong-Fast🏡) 1610473061.0
This statement this morning is incitement. It's wink and nod incitement, it's plausible deniability ("Just reportin… https://t.co/cs9CbZqQMn— Bill Kristol (@Bill Kristol) 1610473180.0
This is a threat. He is threatening violence, right now. https://t.co/BcyXqAecIY— Leah Greenberg (@Leah Greenberg) 1610475248.0
Trump's comments were largely considered a passive aggressive threat to the highest ranking congressional Democrats.
There's the set up: future MAGA violence is Pelosi/Schumer's fault https://t.co/YmHzEnBqkP— rabia O'chaudry (@rabia O'chaudry) 1610470463.0
As Michael Cohen testified, Trump speaks in code. He doesn't directly order you to do something illegal, but you kn… https://t.co/Jdye3M7c3n— Jennifer Hayden (@Jennifer Hayden) 1610466829.0
Nice republic you guys have here. Would be a shame if anything happened to it. https://t.co/TOiskFKS5L— Matt Ford (@Matt Ford) 1610466384.0
There he goes again. This is how he threatens violence, ever so subtle and mob-bossy -- "I want no violence, but..… https://t.co/k6SsgOXEMj— Rep. Jared Huffman (@Rep. Jared Huffman) 1610466937.0
Trump also displayed no contrition for the remarks to his supporters before they stormed the Capitol, baselessly claiming, "It's been analyzed and people thought that what I said was totally appropriate."