President Donald Trump has refused to take any responsibility for the deadly riots at the Capitol in his first discussion with reporters since a violent mob attacked Congress as it convened to certify the 2020 elections.
“So 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 analysed, and people thought that what I said was totally appropriate,” the president said in response to questions about his role in the riots.
Mr Trump was referring to the speech he delivered to his supporters just before the violent mob launched the attacks, in which he lied about his electoral defeat, promoted conspiracy theories of rampant voter fraud and urged the audience to march to the Capitol.
He then claimed the “real problem” was what other politicians said about the violent riots in Portland following the death of George Floyd.
The president spoke to reporters before departing for Texas, where he was scheduled to take a tour of border wall construction.
Before departing, he also said the growing calls to have him removed from office were “absolutely ridiculous” and added that the Democrats’ demands for impeachment were causing “tremendous anger”.
At least five people who were at the Capitol riots last week have died, including a United States Capitol Police officer, who died as a result of injures he sustained during the riots, according to officials. A federal murder investigation has reportedly since been launched.
Hundreds of lawmakers, including some Republicans, have since joined the calls for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, through which a majority of Cabinet members could vote for the president to be removed from office before Inauguration Day. Otherwise, many of those lawmakers have called for the House of Representatives to launch a second round of impeachment proceedings against Mr Trump.
Civil and immigrant rights groups were meanwhile organising in response to Mr Trump’s visit to the US-Mexico border, with a rally and press conference scheduled in the Rio Grande Valley.
Organisers said in a statement they planned the rally away from where the president was visiting in order to prevent a violent clash like the one seen at the Capitol, adding: "At this point in time, we cannot in good conscience encourage community members to approach violent white supremacists who have no sense of what is right, what is moral, or what is the right side of history.”