The White House released a video late Thursday in which President Donald Trump made tepid calls for "healing" in the wake of the insurrection he fomented Wednesday in the nation’s capital.
Trump, who spoke woodenly as he read from a teleprompter, said he would work to ensure a smooth and orderly transition to the next administration. He called for "healing and reconciliation," and an orderly transition of power, notwithstanding his weeks of refusing to concede, filling of scores of frivolous lawsuits contesting the election results and active efforts to inhibit cooperation with incoming Biden administration officials.
In the video, Trump made no apology for his role in inciting the deadly assault on Congress as lawmakers met to count the electoral college votes that confirmed President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
Trump claimed, falsely, that he’d acted “immediately” to authorize national guard troops to help beleaguered Capitol police. In fact, it took hours for national guard units to be activated and sent into the district. The Washington Post reported that the D.C. National Guard was placed under severe constraints by the administration days ahead of the assault.
Four people have died as a result of the mayhem on Wednesday, including a Trump supporter who was shot trying to enter part of the Capitol. Capitol police denied reports by CNN and NPR that and officer injured Wednesday had died Thursday.
The Trump video comes amid widespread calls for his removal, whether by the 25th Amendment or impeachment. Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer have called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, which allows for the removal of a sitting president if a majority of the cabinet agrees.
Pelosi said earlier today that if Pence doesn’t act, the House may move to consider articles of impeachment.
Pence has reportedly not spoken with Pelosi or Schumer.
More than half a dozen administration officials have resigned since the insurrection, the latest being Education Secretary Betsy DeVos who wrote in her letter to Trump "There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me," The Wall Street Journal reported.
Earlier, Elaine Chao, the Secretary of Transportation and wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, resigned as well. Former Trump Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney also resigned his current post as special envoy to Ireland.
U.S. stock futures edged higher in the wake of Trump’s comments Thursday, with contracts on the Dow Industrials, Nasdaq and S&P 500 all up about 0.1%. Stocks soared to record closing highs on Thursday after Congress completed the counting of the electoral votes and Pence formally declared Biden the winner of the election.