Donald Trump has refused to attend the inauguration of his rival, Joe Biden, after some of his supporters (who he described as “Great Patriots”) attempted to storm the Capitol building and siege it.
Earlier in the day, the protesters marched on on the building – peacefully at first – to support the president and object to the legitimacy of the election, in a move that Trump had appeared to encourage.
The legislators were in the middle of confirming Biden’s votes before he is inaugurated as president on the 20th January. As a result of the attack, they were evacuated from the building, which was later taken over by the protesters and damaged.
During the incident, in which four protesters and one police officer died, Trump supporters clambered through windows, looted the building and posed for photos in Nancy Pelosi’s office.
The Vice President stopped the attack after calling up the National Guard. It was later found that on one of the protesters was carrying a powerful homemade pipe bomb.
The incident was afterwards condemned worldwide and from both sides of the political spectrum, with many laying the blame either solely or in part with Donald Trump himself.
A number of high-profile Cabinet Ministers resigned over the incident. The Democrats (specifically Pelosi and Schumer) are pushing for the president to be impeached and removed from office early on charges of sedition, following claims that his rhetoric incited the event.
Trump made a speech via the White House calling for “healing and reconciliation” and condemning the protesters after officials (including the Justice Department) said he could face charges of stoking tension.
At the start of the video, Trump said: “I’d like to begin by addressing the heinous attack on the United States Capitol.’
“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. America is and must always be a nation of law and order.”
He added: “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.”
He ended the speech with: “To all of my wonderful supporters. I know you are disappointed, but I also want you to know that our incredible journey is only just beginning.”
His claim to have called up the National Guard was found to be false and it was in fact VP Mike Pence who had done so. Earlier, Pence had certified the election results in favour of President-Elect Joe Biden, incurring the President’s wrath on Twitter.
Mr Trump’s personal Twitter account has now been suspended indefinitely, in a move announced by Twitter on Friday. However, the official @POTUS account remains active.
Shortly before his suspension, the President had tweeted: “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
A number of his close aides have lambasted Trump, describing him as “psychologically fragile” and “a total monster”.
One Republican said of the President: “He is alone. He is mad King George. Trump believes that he has these people so intimidated they wouldn’t dare mess with him. I think Trump doesn’t understand how precarious his situation is right now.”
Another adviser told a newspaper that Trump watched the rioting on Capitol Hill play out and was not necessarily enjoying himself. He was said to be “bemused” by it, because he thought his supporters were literally fighting for him.