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27 Jan 2021 9:48
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  •   Home > News > International

    US President Donald Trump says rioters who stormed Capitol will be 'brought to justice'

    US President Donald Trump says in a video message that "no true supporter" of his could condone political violence, but stops short of addressing his impeachment.

    US President Donald Trump has said those who engaged in last week's violent occupation of the Capitol will be "brought to justice".

    In a video message in which he stopped short of addressing his impeachment, just one week after a violent mob of his supporters stormed the complex, Mr Trump said that "no true supporter" of his could condone political violence.

    "The incursion of the US Capitol struck at the very heart of our republic. It angered and appalled millions of Americans across the political spectrum," he said.

    "I want to be very clear: I unequivocally condemn the violence that we saw last week. Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country and no place in our movement."

    The President, who later referred those involved in the riot as "very special" and continued to repeat baseless claims about election fraud, has been widely accused of inciting the violence, including by members of his own party.

    Addressing those responsible for the violence, Mr Trump said the Make America Great Again movement was about "supporting the men and women of law enforcement" and upholding the nation's "most sacred traditions and values".

    "No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence," he said.

    "No true supporter of mine could ever disrespect law enforcement or our great American flag. No true supporter of mine could ever threaten or harass their fellow Americans.

    "If you do any of these things, you are not supporting our movement, you are attacking it and attacking our country."

    The President said political violence had spiralled "out of control" over the course of the past year, warning there would be "no excuses, no exceptions".

    He said it was time to "ease tensions, calm tempers and help promote peace in our country".

    "Whether you are on the right or the left, a Democrat or a Republican, there is never a justification for violence," he said.

    "No excuses, no exceptions. America is a nation of laws. Those who engaged in the attacks last week will be brought to justice."

    The message echoes the President's earlier statement, read by Republican representative Jim Jordan during impeachment proceedings, in which Mr Trump condemned violence at the Capitol.

    Mr Trump did not attend the vote, opting to conduct a low-profile National Medal of Arts ceremony in the Oval Office.

    Trump briefed by Secret Service on 'potential threats'

    In his video message, the President pointed to reports of additional demonstrations planned for the coming days, both in Washington DC and "across the country".

    He said he had been briefed by the US Secret Service "on the potential threats", adding that every American deserved to "have their voice heard in a respectful and peaceful way".

    "But I cannot emphasise [enough] that there must be no violence, no lawbreaking and no vandalism of any kind," he said.

    "Everyone must follow our laws and obey the instructions of law enforcement."

    Mr Trump said he had directed federal agencies to use "all necessary resources" to maintain order.

    The National Guard is preparing to deploy at least 20,000 troops in Washington for the January 20 swearing in of Mr Biden as president.

    "Like all of you, I was shocked and deeply sadden by the calamity at the Capitol last week," the President said, thanking Americans who responded to the riot "with calm, moderation and grace".

    "We will get through this challenge, just like we always do."

    Efforts to 'censor' speech 'dangerous', President says

    Addressing recent moves by tech giants to crack down on content and accounts perpetuating baseless claims about election fraud, Mr Trump went on to denounce what he called an "unprecedented assault on free speech".

    Various social media platforms have moved to suspend or ban Mr Trump's account in the wake of the Capitol riot, while Facebook has announced it will remove certain posts containing the phrase "stop the steal", amid fears it could incite further violence.

    "These are tense and difficult times. The efforts to censor, cancel and blacklist our fellow citizens are wrong and they are dangerous," Mr Trump said.

    "What is needed now is for us to listen to one another, not to silence one another.

    "All of us can choose, by our actions, to rise above the rancour and find common ground and shared purpose."

    Pointing to the need to advance "the interests of the whole nation" amid the global pandemic, Mr Trump urged Americans to "overcome the passions of the moment and join together as one American people".

    "Let us choose to move forward united, for the good of our families, our communities and our country," he said.


    © 2021 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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