In a video statement released the evening of January 7, President Donald Trump concedes the election to President-elect Joe Biden. He also promised to focus on a smooth transition of power moving forward. In addition, the President also addressed the riots at the Capitol and condemned the demonstrators who clashed with police and attempted to overrun Congress during the Electoral College vote counting.
Condemning the Violence
In the three-minute videotaped at the Rose Garden, the President condemned the protesters who marched up to Congress but then proceeded to disrupt the special session and vandalized halls and offices. He promised that those who violated the law will pay. Trump’s demeanor in the video is a stark turn-around from the President’s stance during yesterday’s events.
In a nearby rally yesterday, Trump urged supporters to head to the Capitol to protest the ongoing confirmation. He said “We're going to walk down to the Capitol. And we're gonna cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women. And we're probably not going to be cheering, so much for some of them, because you'll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong.” He also called out Vice President Mike Pence in a tweet, saying he didn’t help him.
Conceding to Biden
Trump’s speech expanded his earlier tweet where he pledged to an orderly transition on January 20. He wrote that while he disagreed with the election outcome, he will not stand in the way of the transition. However, he will continue the fight to “make America great again.” In the new video, Trump also changed the tune on his vow to “never concede.” While he didn’t say the word “concede” and didn’t address Biden by name, he did acknowledge that a new administration will occupy the White House by January 2020. As such, he promised to focus on ensuring an orderly transition.
In contrast, Trump spent the last two months after the elections filing lawsuits and legal challenges that questioned election results. He focused on battleground states such as Georgia and Pennsylvania and often clashed with GOP governors who he felt didn’t lift a finger to help his cause. On numerous occasions, including during yesterday’s rally, he promised he will never concede the elections.
Why the Turnaround?
Analysts say that Trump finally accepted the outcome after a score of resignations occurred at the White House following the riots. Members of both parties condemned the wanton lawlessness and apparent disregard for safety. Meanwhile, many lawmakers blamed the President for egging on the protesters and then allowing the violence to escalate. Consequently, some GOP senators who originally planned to object to the certification changed their minds.
At the same time, whispers of an invocation of Amendment 25 kept floating around the capitol. Members of Congress, mostly from the Democrats, have called on Pence and other cabinet secretaries to invoke Amendment 25 and remove Trump from office. Democrats also raised a strong possibility of filing a new impeachment complaint against Trump.
Full Transcript of the President’s Speech
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. The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy. 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. We have just been through an intense election and emotions are high, but now tempers must be cooled and calm we start. [sic] 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. In so doing now is fighting to defend American democracy. I continue to strongly believe that we must reform our election laws to verify the identity and eligibility of all voters and to ensure faith and confidence in all future elections.
Now, Congress has certified the results. A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly, and seamless transition of power. 2020 has been a challenging time for our people, a menacing pandemic has upended the lives of our citizens, isolated millions in their homes damaged our economy, and claimed countless lives.
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. We must revitalize the sacred bonds of love and loyalty, that bind us together as one national family.
To the citizens of our country, serving as your president has been the honour of my lifetime. And 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.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.
As Trump concedes, it clears a path for Biden to enter the White House. However, it extracted a steep price in the form of the Republican Party in shambles. Not only did they lose the White, but they failed to recapture the Senate. In addition, the party remains divided between those who support Trump and those who wish to put everything behind them.
Watch President Trump’s latest video statement condemning the violence that happened at the Capitol yesterday and promising an orderly transition of power to the new administration:
What’s next for the Republican party? How do they deal with the next two years and the elections after? Let us know what you think by leaving your comments below.
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