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Trump assured supporters at the "Save America" rally Wednesday that he would join them on a march to the Capitol.
He encouraged them to "show strength" and head to the Capitol, where Congress was in the process of certifying President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
He then returned to the White House by car.
Soon after, the assembled protesters grew violent, and broke into the Capitol building, with the president watching on TV.
President Donald Trump encouraged protesters to march on the Capitol on Wednesday with the assurance that he would join them - but instead drove away in his motorcade.
He spoke to supporters at the "Save America" rally in Washington DC, organized in protest at the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's election victory.
While Trump-loyalist members of Congress debated a postponement of the certification in the Capitol, Trump himself fired up his crowd.
"Now it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy," he said. "And after this, we're going to walk down - and I'll be there with you - we're going to walk down ... to the Capitol and we're going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women."
Trump spoke from behind bulletproof glass, according to Bloomberg reporter Josh Wingrove.
The president's pledge to join the marchers was greeted with cheers. However, according to the press pool report sent following the rally, he actually went back to the White House in his motorcade.
He then watched the ensuing violence unfold on cable news, as Insider's Charles Davis and Lauren Frias reported.
In his speech, Trump urged his followers to "fight like hell" to overturn the election he lost.
"You'll never take back our country with weakness," he said. "You have to show strength and you have to be strong."
Trump later changed tack, asking supporters to respect law enforcement and go home.
However, he continued to push the false narrative of a stolen election and praised the rioters as "great patriots" in a post that Twitter later deleted.
The White House did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
Read the original article on Business Insider