In a video uploaded to the platform, he told America ‘serving as your president has been the honour of my lifetime’ and committed to a ‘seamless transition of power’ to President-elect Joe Biden.
He did not address his role in inciting the violence – but did tell supporters that, while he knows they are ‘disappointed’, ‘our incredible journey is only just beginning’.
The US leader has been slammed after claiming his ‘only goal’ in contesting the election was to ‘ensure the integrity of the vote’ as he ‘fought to defend American democracy’ – despite never having any evidence the election was ‘rigged’.
He has also been accused of lying after claiming he called in the National Guard to quell the unrest on Wednesday, when it was widely reported to have been Vice-President Mike Pence.
Addressing the nation, Trump said: ‘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 engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law, you will pay.’
He continued: ‘We have just been through an intense election and emotions are high. But now tempers must be cooled and calm restored. We must get on with the business of America.
Rioters clash with police trying to enter Capitol building through the front doors (Picture: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/REX)
Riot police clear the hallway inside the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, DC (Picture: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/REX)
‘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, I was 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.’
He added that now that Congress has certified the results, the ‘new administration will be inaugurated on January 20’ and his ‘focus turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power’.
Calling for ‘healing and reconciliation’, he said 2020 had been ‘a challenging time for our people’ amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The US leader delivered the message just hours before education secretary Betsy DeVos became the latest high-ranking official to quit her post over the Capitol attack which resulted in five deaths.
Members of Congress were forced into hiding, offices were ransacked, and the formal congressional count of Electoral College votes was halted for more than six hours on Wednesday.
Ms DeVos said the president’s rhetoric was the ‘inflection point’ for the attack on the Capitol, with transportation secretary Elaine Chao and the US special envoy to Northern Ireland Mick Mulvaney also earlier stepping aside from their positions.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has demanded Trump is immediately removed from office using the 25th Amendment, and warned that Congress may proceed to impeach him.
Supporters of US President Donald J. Trump in the Capitol Rotunda after breaching Capitol security in Washington, DC, USA, 06 January 2021 (Picture: EPA)
A supporter of President Donald Trump chants outside the Senate Chamber (Picture: AP)
Democratic leaders of the House Appropriations Committee paid tribute to the life of officer Brian D Sicknick, who died on Thursday due to injuries sustained while on-duty at the Capitol.
They said the ‘tragic loss’ of officer Sicknick “should remind all of us of the bravery of the law enforcement officers who protected us, our colleagues, Congressional staff, the press corps and other essential workers”.
President-elect Mr Biden has named the mob ‘domestic terrorists’ and laid the blame for the violence squarely at Trump’s feet.
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