U.S. President Donald Trump broke his silence Wednesday on the increasing security concerns leading up to president-elect Joe Biden‘s inauguration, calling on “all Americans” to “ease tensions and calm tempers.”
“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 in a statement, issued via the office of his press secretary.
“That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You.”
The FBI warned ominously Monday of potential armed protests by Trump supporters ahead of Biden’s inauguration.
An internal FBI bulletin warned that protests were planned at all 50 state capitols and in Washington, D.C.
Law enforcement officials told The Associated Press and other American media outlets that the nationwide protests may start Jan. 16 and go through to “at least 20 January.”
Investigators believe some of the people are members of extremist groups, officials who read details of the memo told The AP. The bulletin was first reported by ABC.
According to ABC, the bulletin detailed calls for the “storming” of state and local federal courthouses and buildings if Trump is removed from power before inauguration day.
U.S. House Democrats formally introduced a single article of impeachment Monday, charging Trump with “inciting an insurrection” in connection with last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol, which left five dead. The House is expected to vote on the impeachment sometime Wednesday.
Trump’s statement is one of few since a protest organized by his most loyal supporters unraveled at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. His attempt to temper the growing flames comes in stark contrast to his rhetoric last week.
He seemingly poured more fuel on the fire on Tuesday. During a stop in Texas, Trump suggested those who seek to remove or impeach him will face consequences.
“The 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me, but will come back to haunt Joe Biden and the Biden administration,” he told a crowd.
“As the expression goes, ‘Be careful what you wish for.'”
In the lead-up to the confirmation of the Electoral College votes — which ultimately landed in favour of Biden — Trump publicly urged Vice-President Mike Pence to help his efforts and throw out the result, which Pence eventually rejected.
Trump also gave his supporters a boost into action that morning, urging them to march to the Capitol. What ensued was widely seen as a dark chapter in America’s history.
Eventually, at the urging of his staff, Trump issued a pair of tweets and a video telling his supporters it was time to “go home in peace” — though it was clear he supported their cause.
Trump has said he will not attend Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
— With files from the Associated Press
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.