President Donald Trump released a statement amid House debate over his impeachment on Wednesday afternoon, urging against further violence and unrest in the nation’s capital and across the country.
“In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind,” Trump said.
“That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for,” he said. “I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You.”
The president’s statement was first issued to Fox News and subsequently distributed to reporters via the White House press office.
At the same time, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel released a similar statement condemning acts of violence.
“Violence has no place in our politics. Period,” McDaniel said. “I wholly condemned last week’s senseless acts of violence, and I strongly reiterate the calls to remain peaceful in the weeks ahead.”
Notably, neither Trump’s nor McDaniel’s messages mentioned the House impeachment proceedings that were taking place at the time of their release.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), however, did read the president’s statement on the House floor as he and other GOP lawmakers defended Trump against the article of impeachment charging him with inciting last week’s insurrection at the Capitol.
Trump is poised on Wednesday to become the first president in American history to be impeached twice, with at least six House Republicans joining with Democrats to rebuke him for a second time.
The most prominent of the GOP lawmakers supporting impeachment is Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the third-ranking House Republican.
Until the release of his statement, it was unclear how Trump — whose Twitter account was permanently suspended last week — would weigh in on the impeachment proceedings on Wednesday, or whether he would comment at all.
Trump’s and McDaniel’s statements come as tensions remain high inside the Capitol following last week’s siege of the building by pro-Trump rioters, which resulted in the deaths of at least five people — including a Capitol Police officer.
On Monday, Capitol Police and other officials warned House Democrats in a briefing of multiple plots to harm lawmakers.
A key group of House Democratic chairs separately met with the FBI on Tuesday, and senators were briefed by the Secret Service, the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security.
Meanwhile, trust is rapidly deteriorating among lawmakers — some of whom have suggested that their colleagues possibly abetted last week’s Capitol siege.
Thousands of National Guardsmen have been deployed to protect the Capitol against unrest ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week, and scores of troops could be seen stationed inside the building on Wednesday.