President Donald Trump urged his supporters currently vandalizing the U.S. Capitol building to go home in a recorded video statement that also validated their reason for rioting.
"I know your pain. I know your hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us," said Trump in the brief minute-long video. "But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order."
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2021
"This was a fraudulent election but we can't play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace," he continued. "We love you. You're very special. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil but go home and go home in peace."
The president's claims of widespread election fraud had become increasingly meritless and conspiratorial in the days leading up to the Georgia runoff elections. They don't appear to be dying down anytime soon.
Per reporting from Maggie Haberman at The New York Times, Trump had to be cajoled by his staff into making even this rather weak plea, instead spending much of the day fuming over Vice President Mike Pence refusing to stop the tally of Electoral College votes that was supposed to be completed today.
Per people close to the White House, several official and unofficial aides are trying - without success - to get the president to issue a stronger statement. He simply won't do it. He's been furious at Pence for refusing to do something he doesn't have power to do and that's that
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 6, 2021
Meanwhile, Trump supporters at the Capitol smashed up Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office, and an explosive device was discovered at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany claimed on Twitter that Trump had also called in the National Guard to help quell the rioting.
At President @realDonaldTrump's direction, the National Guard is on the way along with other federal protective services.
We reiterate President Trump's call against violence and to remain peaceful.
— Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) January 6, 2021
That version of events is being disputed by Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, who released a statement saying that he spoke with Vice President Mike Pence and congressional leadership before activating the guard.
This is nuts. The Acting Secretary of Defense acknowledging that he and the Joint Chiefs Chairman did not discuss deploying the National Guard with President Trump - but rather with VP Pence and Congressional leaders. pic.twitter.com/b8gAT9bnSC
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) January 6, 2021
Neither that action nor the president's statement appears to have mollified the crowd at the Capitol. Elected Republicans are demanding calm. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D–Minn.) is drafting fresh articles of impeachment.
Thank God 2020 is over, right?