In a bizarre speech posted on Twitter Thursday night, President Donald Trump disavowed his supporters’ attack on the U.S. Capitol earlier this week. Trump said he was “outraged by the violence, lawlessness, and mayhem” and claimed that he tried to promptly stop the assault by “immediately” deploying the National Guard. He conveniently left out the fact that he encouraged that same attack both before it started and while it was happening.
“We have just been through an intense election and emotions are high,” Trump continued. “But now tempers must be cooled, and calm restored.” The president continued with this vague concession of his presidency, saying “a new administration will be inaugurated on January 20. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power.”
While this is likely the closest Trump will ever come both to formally conceding and to condemning the far right actors who stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, his speech appears less to be motivated by wanting to finally do the right thing, but rather by a desire to circumvent any criminal investigations he will face once he leaves office. Trump reportedly resisted recording the video at first, agreeing to do so only after his aides warned that he could face legal consequences for having encouraged the attack, The New York Times reports. Because, not only did Trump encourage his supporters to head to the Capitol on Wednesday, he also did very little to stop their attack. Officials who spoke with The Times said Trump was “initially pleased” with his supporters breaching the Capitol, “and disregarded aides pleading with him to intercede.”
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — a Trump ally who has, however, accepted the legitimate results of the election — also reportedly attempted to call the president during the attack, but was unable to reach him. This makes sense as it's clear the president didn't make the video for any reason other than to save himself. After all, the president has still not addressed his role in encouraging the “Stop The Steal” rallies that culminated in the violent attack, after spending the last two months attempting to reverse the election results in his favor by any means necessary.
The video also did appear to send at least one coded message, akin to when he told the Proud Boys to "stand by" during the presidential debates. While he claims he is preparing for a peaceful transition of power to the Biden administration in less than two weeks, Trump also told his supporters: “I know you are disappointed, but I also want you to know that our incredible journey is only just beginning.”
While Trump’s time is almost up, As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned, even though Trump's time as president may be almost up, “any day can be a horror show for America.”