President Donald Trump posted a video Wednesday evening (Jan. 13) on the White House Twitter account--his personal account has been banned--calling for calm and condemning in no uncertain terms the violence at the Capitol Jan. 6 and called for upholding the rule of law.
That came not long after the House voted to impeach him for what it said was inciting that insurrection, in which a Capitol Police Officer was killed and four members of the protest/insurrection died. It also came after he had failed for days to condemn the siege. When trying to encourage the mob to exit the Capitol, Trump said: "We love you. You're very special," appearing to echo the tone deafness of his comments about there being good people on both sides of the deadly Charlottesville "protest."
"I want to be very clear," he said in Wednesday's video. "I unequivocally condemn the violence that we saw last week" he said. He also said that violence and vandalism have no place in the country or in his movement.
"No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence. 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." He said anyone who did that was attacking his movement and attacking the country. "We cannot tolerate it."
The President also tacitly equated the Capitol assault with the sometimes violent protests earlier in the year over the death of George Floyd.
"We have seen political violence spiral out of control. We have seen too many riots, too many mobs, too many acts of intimidation and destruction. It must stop. Whether you are on the right or the left, Democrat or Republican, there is never a justification for violence. No excuses. No exceptions."
The President said he had been briefed on potential threats from planned demonstrations, both in Washington and across the country, around the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and asked all his followers to find ways to ease tensions, calm tempers and promote peace. He said peaceful protest was their First Amendment right, but he said there must be no violence or vandalism "of any kind."
The President also took the opportunity to call out Social Media for decisions to ban his social media accounts, and to de-post right-wing social network site, Parler, though he did not cite any specifics.
He said efforts to "censor, cancel and blacklist our fellow citizens are wrong and they are dangerous" and an unprecedented assault on speech. He said it was important to listen to each other, not silence each other.
Speaking on Fox News, which aired the video in its entirety, NPR's Mara Liasson said the President's straightforward statement may have come too late, and wondered what would have happened if that had been his initial reaction to the violence.
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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