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Stopping short of congratulating President-elect Joe Biden on his electoral victory in November, Trump released a video acknowledging publicly for the first time that he will not serve a second presidential term.
Outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump released a video on Twitter early Thursday evening in which he publicly ackowledged for the first time that a transition of power is underway.
In a pre-recorded video taped at the White House, Trump said: "A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power."
The video, released over 24 hours after Wednesday's insurrection by his supporters at the U.S. Capitol, two months after his electoral loss to Joe Biden and amidst fresh calls for his removal from office or impeachment. Trump calls for "healing and reconciliation" and that the country must move forward, despite legal questions swirling about his culpability for inciting rioters who occupied the US Capitol a day earlier.
In the statement, Trump falsely claims he deployed the National Guard to quell his supporters, whom just a day earlier he called special. Earlier in the day, Trump issued a statement vowing for an "orderly transition" to quell concerns about a wave of resignations in his administration, including the first lady's chief of staff, a deputy press secretary, and Trump's deputy national security adviser.
Another key resignation over Trump's role in stoking the mayhem include Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, although National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, who mentioned he was considering resigning, decided to remain in his post until January 20 due to the national security implications of having a vacant post in the coming days.
CNN reports that Trump not only agreed to the statement after learning of the dismay and disgust of his staff and aides, but also given earlier discussions underway to invoke the 25th amendment and restart impeachment proceedings against him.
"Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20," Trump said in a statement after Congress certified his loss.
"I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it's only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again, Trump continued in the overnight statement, issued supposedly without the knowledge of the White House Press Office.
Despite Trump's statement Thursday, among his team and close allies, many see it as too little, too late for what happened at the Capitol building Wednesday and months after Joe Biden won the election in a not particularly close race.
His conduct yesterday—having gave a speech to his supporters filled with lies and misrepresentations, incensing the crowd, only to then watch the violent mob he manipulated storm the House and Senate floors and ransacking Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office, destroying federal property and leading to four deaths and dozens injured and arrested—is unforgiveable for even many close to the President.
Trump has still yet to condemn the violence and according to sources close to the White House only agreed to call for peace and tell protestors to go home after Republican lawmakers and staffers lobbied him to do so.
Ultimately, Trump's video Wednesday was banned by Twitter and Facebook, and his accounts were temporaily suspended by both social media outlets, and many analysts understand this video posted Thursday as a means to avoid the impeachment proceedings against him and prevent further staff resignations from his Cabinet or inner circle.