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Trump defends riot remarks as 'totally appropriate' ahead of House vote on 25th Amendment resolution

"Everybody to a 'T' thought it was totally appropriate," Trump said as lawmakers prepared a resolution calling for the president's removal from office.
President Trump Departs White House For Border Visit
President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before boarding Marine One on Jan. 12, 2021 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Tuesday defended the remarks he made last week that incited a crowd of his supporters to violently storm the U.S. Capitol, hours before the House was preparing to vote on a resolution that calls on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

Asked by reporters on Tuesday about whether he held any "personal responsibility" over the tragedy that beset the Capitol last week, Trump replied, "If you read my speech, and many people have done it and I've seen it both in the papers and in the media, on television, it's been analyzed and people thought that what I said was totally appropriate."

"Everybody to a 'T' thought it was totally appropriate," Trump said.

Trump's comments come just six days after riots in and around the Capitol by his supporters left five people dead and many others injured —shaking American democracy to its core in the process — and one day before the House was also set to impeach him for the second time over his role in inciting the riots.

The attack on the Capitol on Wednesday came after Trump spoke to the crowd, encouraging them to march to the building and saying, "You'll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong."

Trump was slow to respond after his supporters stormed the building, and eventually sent out a pair of tweets calling for peaceful protest while also repeating his false election claims and telling the rioters he loved them.

Trump's role in the riots has been widely condemned by lawmakers across both major political parties. He was also banned from Twitter and other platforms for using them to incite his supporters — suspensions that the president on Tuesday blasted as "a terrible mistake" by "big tech."

He then predicted the bans was creating "such anger" before quickly noting, "always have to avoid violence"

"There's always a counter move when they do that. I've never seen such anger as I see right now and that's a terrible thing," he said. "We have tremendous support. We have support probably like nobody has ever seen before," he added, before saying, "always have to avoid violence."

The House is expected to vote on the 25th Amendment measure around 10:30 p.m. ET, according to a schedule released by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.

The measure says Pence should "convene and mobilize" Trump's Cabinet to activate the 25th Amendment to declare the president "incapable of executing the duties of his office and to immediately exercise powers as acting President." The resolution is sponsored by Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md.

Spurred on by last Wednesday’s events when pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol, the six-page resolution says that the mob "threatened the safety and lives of the Vice President, the Speaker of the House, and the President pro tempore of the Senate, the first three individuals in the line of succession to the presidency, as the rioters were recorded chanting 'Hang Mike Pence' and 'Where’s Nancy' when Trump tweeted to his supporters that ‘"Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country."

The measure lays out evidence that Trump incited his supporters to commit violence at the Capitol and says that the president has "demonstrated repeatedly, continuously and spectacularly his absolute inability to discharge the most basic and fundamental powers and duties of his office." It says that Trump didn't respect the results of the 2020 presidential election, isn't respecting the peaceful transfer of power, isn't upholding the Constitution and has failed to protect Americans.

Pence, however, is unlikely to remove Trump from office. As of Monday morning, multiple sources said that Pence was not inclined to sign on to invoking the 25th Amendment, and is instead waiting to run out the clock so he can make it to January 20 "in one piece."

The vice president met with Trump in the Oval Office Monday evening, a senior administration official said, which was their first contact since the attack on the Capitol. The official said that they had a good conversation, reflecting on the last four years, and that they both said that those who broke the law and stormed the Capitol do not represent America.

Pence is leading a Covid-19-related video conference with governors Tuesday while Trump is planning to travel to Alamo, Texas, to visit part of the border wall.

Assuming that Pence will ignore the House's request, the House is planning to vote Wednesday on an article of impeachment that would charge Trump with "incitement of insurrection" in urging his supporters to march to the Capitol last week and fight. The Senate would then hold a trial to decide whether to convict Trump and potentially eliminate his ability to run for office again.

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