Donald Trump, making his first public appearance since the siege on the Capitol, told reporters that his speech beforehand was “totally appropriate.”
“If you read my speech — many people have done it, and I have seen it in the papers and the media, on television. It has been analyzed, and people thought that what I said was totally appropriate,” Trump told reporters at Joint Base Andrews.
Trump has been blamed for inciting the riots, by Democrats and even a number of Republicans. His former attorney general, William Barr, said that Trump’s conduct was a “betrayal of his office and supporters” and that “orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable.”
The House is expected to vote on an article of impeachment on Wednesday, charging the president with inciting an insurrection.
Trump told reporters that impeachment is “really a continuation of the greatest witchhunt in the history of politics. It’s ridiculous, it’s absolutely ridiculous.”
The president also said that the decision by major tech platforms like Twitter and Facebook to suspend his accounts, along with a series of other bans and removals by other internet companies was a “horrible thing for our country and I believe it is going to be a catastrophic mistake for them.”
He also told reporters “We want no violence, never violence.”
In Trump’s speech on the Ellipse, he encouraged the crowd to march on the Capitol, and even indicated that he would be with them, even if he did not go. He told supporters, “Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong.”
He also said, “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard. Today, we will see whether Republicans stand strong for integrity of our elections. But whether or not they stand strong for our country, our country. Our country has been under siege for a long time. Far longer than this four year period.”
Toward the end of the speech, he said of the presidential election, “I said something is wrong here, something is really wrong, can’t have happened and we fight, we fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
The full speech he gave last week is here.
The House on Tuesday will debate and vote on a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.