President Donald Trump has acknowledged that Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States and said his focus now is on a peaceful transition of power, a day after his supporters violently attacked the US Capitol.
“A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation,” Trump said in a video statement posted on Twitter.
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The president denounced the “heinous” attack on the Capitol and said rioters had “defiled the seat of American democracy”.
The Republican president has been under intense political pressure after several Republicans and Democrats criticised him for inciting the violence and top Democrats called for his immediate removal from office.
Democratic leaders in the US Congress attempted to contact Vice President Mike Pence to replace Trump immediately through the 25th Amendment to the constitution. The provision allows a vice president to replace a president, if they are unable to perform their duties. Pence would not take their call.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2021
The statement marked a shift in tone for Trump, who has spent months claiming without evidence that the election was marred by widespread fraud.
“Serving as your president has been the honour of my lifetime,” Trump said. “And to all of my wonderful supporters, I know you are disappointed, but I also want you to know that our incredible journey is only just beginning.”