As a sixth Republican came forward on the House floor to announce support for impeaching President Donald Trump, the president issued a statement calling for calm amid FBI warnings of demonstrations leading up to Inauguration Day.
"I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind," Trump said in the statement, issued by the White House press office.
"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."
A strong and clear condemnation of violence is something that Republican lawmakers have been urging the president to deliver ever since a mob of extremists stormed the Capitol as lawmakers worked to certify the Nov. 3 election results. Five people died as a result of the riot.
Trump has been criticized for encouraging his supports to head to the Capitol, failing to take quick action to stop the riot, and soft-pedaling his response to the insurrection. He initially downplayed the events of the day, repeated his baseless claims that the election was stolen, and after the riot, said to supporters: "We love you. You're very special." He amended his response a day later, describing the breach as "a heinous attack."
Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, a close ally of Trump, read the president's statement during the impeachment debate.
White House officials declined to comment on whether Trump was watching the impeachment proceedings, and how or whether he is preparing for his defense. On Tuesday, Trump expressed no regret for his comments and lashed out again impeachment, calling it "divisive" and saying "it causes a lot of problems and a lot of danger."
Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel also released a statement related to the FBI warning about protests, saying "Anyone who has malicious intent is not welcome in Washington, D.C. or in any other state capitol."
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