It took a mob insurrection and sacking of the US Capitol building, but President Donald Trump has finally acknowledged the end of his presidency Thursday morning saying there would be an “orderly transition of power” on Jan. 20 just minutes after Congress formally certified the Electoral College votes in favor of President-elect Joe Biden.

Trump’s statement was shared through the Twitter account of White House aide and social media director Dan Scavino. Facebook and Twitter temporarily suspended Trump from his social media accounts after he posted about a pro-Trump mob that overran the Capitol on Wednesday that ran afoul of platform guidelines.

“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. 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!”

The message by Trump via Scavino came just before 4 a.m. on Thursday, minutes after congressional lawmakers formally tabulated the Electoral College votes. The certification dragged into the early morning hours after the process was interrupted just an hour into debate on Wednesday afternoon when Trump supporters breached the Capitol, resulting in both the House and Senate chambers having to gavel out.

Earlier in the day, Trump told the crowd of supporters he would “never concede,” instead insisting as he has for almost two months that the election was stolen from him through coordinated and widespread fraud — claims that neither he nor his lawyers have proved.

“Make no mistake — this election was stolen from you, from me and from the country,” Trump told supporters.

The breach of the Capitol prompted a host of lawmakers, and Democratic and Republican former U.S. presidents, to call on Trump to commit to a peaceful transfer of power. Sen. Tom Cotton (R- Ark.) said in a statement Trump should “quit misleading the American people.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who has aligned himself closely with Trump, said in a fiery floor speech late Wednesday that he had tried to support the president but “enough is enough.”

“Trump and I, we had a hell of a journey. I hate it being this way. … All I can say is count me out. Enough is enough. … We’ve got to end it,” Graham said.


DC Riots the Culmination of Trump Vote Fraud Claims

Guardian (UK) The riots at the US Capitol shocked many in the US and around the world, but for some, the violent scenes in Washington are simply the natural culmination of Donald Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud and repeated stoking of division in the US.

The descent by thousands of Trump supporters on the Capitol – minutes after the president specifically asked them to march towards it – might be the clearest evidence yet of Trump’s responsibility for Wednesday’s debacle.

But in truth, the violent insurrection was a long time coming.

Months before the November election took place, Trump supporters were already being fed a steady diet of misinformation, as Trump repeatedly claimed the only way he could lose was if the election was rigged.

Should that happen, Trump and his allies told supporters, the US would descend into socialism, communism, or worse. In August he told a crowd that if Biden were to win the election, “China will own the United States” – to the extent that Americans would “have to learn to speak Chinese”.

As the world watched the mob of Trump supporters lay siege to the Capitol building, the beacon of American democracy, it clear to some that this had been a long time coming.

“What we are witnessing at this moment is the manifestation and culmination of reckless leadership, a pervasive misuse of power, and anarchy,” Derrick Johnson, the president of the NAACP civil rights organization, said in a statement.

“This is not protesting or activism; this is an insurrection, an assault on our democracy and a coup incited by President Trump.

“For the past four years, we’ve seen him chip away at the civility, integrity and dignity of our nation. The pattern of President Trump’s misconduct is unmistakable and has proven time and time again that it is a grave threat and harm to the fragile fabric of our country.”

Johnson and others called for Trump to be impeached for his role in the siege of the Capitol. Some Democratic members of Congress have already said they support that measure, and Ilhan Omar, a progressive congresswoman from Minnesota, said on Wednesday evening she was already drawing up articles of impeachment.

The tone at Trump’s rally before the riot was combative, as the president told the crowd: “You’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong.” Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s confidante and increasingly beleagured lawyer, had earlier demanded “trial by combat” over the election results, further stoking the crowd.

Away from Trump’s immediate circle however, many elected Republicans have also lent credence to the president’s baseless accusations of fraud – and have supported Trump even as he defended far-right, torch-bearing marchers in Charlottesville, refused to condemn white supremacy, and spread fear among Black Americans.

“Make no mistake: the domestic terrorism at the US Capitol by armed protesters is not only Trump’s fault alone,” Julian Castro, a Democratic former secretary of housing and urban development and 2020 presidential candidate, wrote on Twitter.

“This is the result of leaders in the Republican party fueling conspiracy, division and hatred for years. And it won’t be fixed until they lose their office.”

The Democratic senator Tammy Duckworth, who was on her way to speak on the Senate floor when Trump supporters besieged the Capitol, had no doubt who was responsible.

“The [one to] blame for this is Donald Trump. He is the one that has been spreading conspiracy theories, falsehoods,” Duckworth said in an interview with CBS News.

“He is the one that is rejecting the results of this election which has been certified by all 50 governors, it is this president who has incited his supporters to this violence.”

 
A member of a pro-Trump mob shatters a window inside the Capitol after breaking into the building. Photograph: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

The Republican senator Mitt Romney, who has frequently served as a fly in Trump’s ointment, was among the relatively few GOP members to directly link Trump to the violent uprising, as Romney described the storming of the Capitol as “an insurrection, incited by the president of the United States”.

Many others remained silent, as Trump himself refused to criticize those attacking the Capitol, instead posting a mixed-message video where he asked supporters to go home, but also praised those supporters and repeated baseless accusations that the election was “stolen”.

Facebook, YouTube and Twitter removed the video amid concerns it could inflame the situation further.

“We are witnessing one of the greatest assaults on our democracy since the civil war,” Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, the largest federation of labor unions in the US, said.

“Today’s attempted coup has been years in the making as Donald Trump consistently spews venom, conspiracies, hate and lies to his supporters. They are carrying out his wishes, and far too many Republican lawmakers have enabled and even encouraged this violent threat to our republic.

“This is an effort to violate the constitutional rights of every law-abiding American and the labor movement will not stand for it. Not today. Not ever.”