McEnany tries to distance administration from Capitol riots

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White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tried on Thursday to distance President Donald Trump’s administration from riots at the Capitol, even though the president had encouraged his followers to move on the building the previous day.

“Those who violently besieged our Capitol are the opposite of everything that this administration stands for,” McEnany said in a televised statement on Thursday afternoon. “The core value of our administration is the idea that all citizens have the right to live in safety, peace, and freedom.”

McEnany’s comments come after members of both parties strongly denounced Trump for inciting the violent protesters who broke into the Capitol on Wednesday. Members of Congress and Trump’s Cabinet voiced their discontent by calling for the president’s removal from office through impeachment or the 25th Amendment. A number of administration officials, including Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, have resigned. Trump was also barred from posting on a number of social media platforms after they determined that his messages during and following the break-in encouraged further violence.

McEnany also said the president was committed to a safe and orderly transition of power, despite his monthslong attack on the legitimacy of the 2020 elections. She did not take questions from reporters after her brief statement.

Shortly before the break-in, Trump took to a rally stage outside the White House, continuing to make false claims that the election was stolen from him. He did not address his supporters again until hours after the rioters had breached Capitol security and sent the complex into an emergency lockdown with armed stand-offs. But he did not condemn his supporters in those messages, instead telling them to go home peacefully and that “we love you.“

“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away,“ Trump said in a tweet that was later removed by Twitter.

Early Thursday morning, after Congress certified the Electoral College vote, Trump agreed for the first time to an orderly transition on Inauguration Day. But he still declined to denounce the violence at the Capitol or even concede that he lost the 2020 election.

Trump did not appear in the White House briefing room for McEnany‘s statement on Thursday.

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