Trump takes no responsibility for U.S. Capitol riot, visits Texas

President Donald Trump tours a section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall under construction Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Alamo, Texas. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)President Donald Trump tours a section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall under construction Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Alamo, Texas. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Tina Puente wears a portrait of President Donald Trump as she gathers with other supporters in anticipation of his visit to the U.S.-Mexico border, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Harlingen, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)Tina Puente wears a portrait of President Donald Trump as she gathers with other supporters in anticipation of his visit to the U.S.-Mexico border, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Harlingen, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday took no responsibility for his part in fomenting a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week, despite his comments encouraging supporters to march on the Capitol and praise for them while they were still carrying out the assault.

“People thought that what I said was totally appropriate,” Trump said.

He made the comments during his first appearance in public since the Capitol siege, which came as lawmakers were tallying Electoral College votes affirming President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Trump arrived in Texas on Tuesday to trumpet his campaign against illegal immigration in an attempt to burnish his legacy with eight days remaining in his term, as lawmakers in Congress appeared set to impeach him this week for the second time.

In Alamo, Texas, a city in the Rio Grande Valley near the U.S.-Mexican border — the site of the 450th mile of the border wall his administration is building, Trump brushed off Democratic calls on his Cabinet to declare him unfit from office and remove him from power using the 25th Amendment.

“The 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me, but will come back to haunt Joe Biden and the Biden administration,” Trump said. “As the expression goes, be careful of what you wish for.”

The rampage through the halls of Congress sent lawmakers of both parties and Trump’s own vice-president into hiding, as crowds called for Mike Pence’s lynching for his role overseeing the vote count. The scene also undermined the hallmark of the republic — the peaceful transition of power. At least five people died, including one Capitol Police officer.

In the days leading up to the Jan. 6 certification vote, Trump encouraged his supporters to descend on Washington, D.C., promising a “wild” rally in support of his baseless claims of election fraud, despite his own administration’s findings to the contrary. Speaking for more than an hour to a crowd on the Ellipse, Trump encouraged supporters to “fight like hell” and suggested that Republican lawmakers would need “more courage not to step up” and overturn the will of voters to grant him another term in office. He also suggested he would join them in marching on the Capitol.

As Trump wrapped up, thousands of his supporters were already heading to the Capitol, where lawmakers convened to count the electoral votes. As rioters were still in the building and lawmakers sheltered in secure locations, Trump, at the urging of aides who were shocked by the violence, released a video seemingly excusing the events, saying of the rioters: “We love you. You’re very special. Go home.”

Speaking Tuesday, Trump said the “real problem” was not his rhetoric, but the rhetoric that Democrats used to describe Black Lives Matter protests and violence in Seattle and Portland this summer,

“Everybody to the ‘t’ thought it was totally appropriate,” Trump said of his own comments.

Trump angrily lashed out at lawmakers’ push for his second impeachment this week, claiming, “It’s causing tremendous anger and division and pain far greater than most people will ever understand, which is very dangerous for the USA, especially at this very tender time.”

READ MORE: Trump says ‘tremendous anger’ in nation over impeachment

Alamo is named after the San Antonio mission where a small group of Texan independence-fighters fended off Mexican forces during a 13-day siege. Most of them died, but the mission became a symbol of resistance for Texans, who eventually defeated the Mexican army.

Trump’s visit there — no doubt a symbol of the president’s defiance — comes as he spends the final days of his presidency isolated, aggrieved and staring down the prospect of a second impeachment.

While Trump was travelling, Pence assured the nation’s governors that outgoing administration is working “diligently” with President-elect Joe Biden’s team. He thanked the governors for their leadership on the coronavirus and promised them a “seamless transition.”

Trump aides have been urging the president to spend his remaining days in office highlighting what they see as the chief accomplishments of his presidency: a massive tax cut, his efforts to roll back federal regulations and the transformation of federal courts with the appointment of conservative judges. But Trump has been consumed by baseless allegations of voter fraud and conspiracies.

In Texas, he delivered remarks highlighting his administration’s efforts to curb illegal immigration and the progress made on his signature 2016 campaign promise: building a “big, beautiful wall” across the length of the southern border — an imposing structure made of concrete and reinforced steel. But over time, Trump demanded modifications that have been largely rejected: He wanted it painted black to burn the hands of those who touched it; he wanted it adorned with deadly spikes; he even wanted to surround it with an alligator-filled moat. While he promised that it would be funded by Mexico, U.S. taxpayers ended up footing the bill.

In the end, his administration has overseen the construction of roughly 450 miles of border wall construction — likely reaching 475 miles by Inauguration Day. The vast majority of that wall replaces smaller barriers that had already existed, though the new wall is considerably more difficult to bypass.

Over the last four years, Trump and his administration have taken extreme — and often unlawful — action to try to curb both illegal and legal immigration. Their efforts were aided in his final year by the coronavirus pandemic, which ground international travel to a halt. But the number of people stopped trying to cross the southern border illegally has been creeping back up in recent months. Figures from December show nearly 74,000 encounters at the southwest border, up 3% from November and up 81% from a year earlier.

A few dozen Trump supporters rallied hours before his visit to the Rio Grande Valley near the Harlingen, Texas, airport, where he was scheduled to land. They planned to stage a caravan of vehicles flying flags that support the president and far-right causes like the QAnon conspiracy theory.

Trump warned that a reversal of his policies by Biden would bring about a “tidal wave of illegal immigration.” He added, “To terminate those policies is knowingly to put America in really serious danger.”

Biden has said he’d halt construction of the border wall and take executive action where possible to reverse some of Trump’s restrictions on legal immigration and asylum seekers. But Biden and his aides have acknowledged the possibility of a new crisis at the border if they act too quickly, and Biden has said it could take six months for his administration to secure funding and put in place the necessary infrastructure to loosen Trump-era restrictions.

Beyond touting the wall, Trump rapidly listed his massive changes on the border aimed at discouraging asylum, including his “Remain in Mexico” policy under which more than 65,000 asylum-seekers have been forced to wait in Mexico for hearings in U.S. immigration court since January 2019 and agreements struck with Central American countries for them to offer asylum to people seeking protection in the United States. He credited his wall for a drop in illegal border crossings from a 13-year high in 2019 but the Government Accountability Office has found the administration lacks measures to correlate drops in illegal crossings to wall construction.

Trump said, falsely, that he inherited “open borders” from his predecessor, Barack Obama. He leaves office about the same number of Border Patrol agents than when he began, despite a pledge to add 5,000, and the monthly number of migrants stopped at the border exceeds totals during much of Obama’s tenure.

___ Associated Press writers Nomaan Merchant in Harlingen, Texas; Ben Fox and Alexandra Jaffe in Washington; Alan Suderman in Richmond, Virginia, and Elliot Spagat in San Diego contributed to this report.

Jill Colvin And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Donald TrumpUSA

Just Posted

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
Up to 15 cm of snow forecast for parts of Vancouver Island this weekend

Snow to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Sorting food to deliver to community members isolating due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Back row from left: Philomena Wilson, Sosefina Aleck, Ethan Wilson and Lucetta Wilson. In front is Kennedy Aleck. (Submitted)
Pandemic, racism inspires food drive that is warming hearts and filling bellies

Cowichan woman’s food drive helps feed members in isolation and missing traditional gatherings

SD62 bus driver Kerry Zado said it’s common to see drivers lose their patience and pass by his bus while he’s picking up students during the morning commute. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Concerned Island school bus driver says people still pass while red lights flashing

All buses in Sooke School District outfitted with stop sign cameras

Handwashing is one of the important COVID-19 precautions. (File photo)
Editorial: Time to knuckle down on COVID precautions

It would be foolish to think that we have not had any COVID cases in Cowichan until now

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Disgraced Kelowna social worker faces another class-action lawsuit

Zackary Alphonse claims he was not informed of resources available to him upon leaving government care

Port Alberni Fire Department deputy Chief Wes Patterson, right, talks to an RCMP member at an incident involving the former Acklands-Grainger building at Third Avenue and Dunbar Street, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
‘Heavy smoke’ turns out to be moisture-laden air venting from cannabis operation

Port Alberni fire crews discover cannabis operation after being called to industrial building

(Pixabay)
Outbreak declared over at Victoria’s Hart House long-term care

One staff member tested positive on Jan. 9

A video captured by Twitter user Teddy Jenner of a fire in Beacon Hill Park the night of Jan. 21, 2021. (Twitter/@OfftheCrosseBar)
Victoria police say no injuries after tent fire in Beacon Hill Park

Emergency crews responded to fire Thursday evening

An architectural rendering provides a look at PC Urban’s proposal for three buildings on the former Galaxy Motors property at 1764 Island Hwy. in Colwood. (Rendering courtesy of PC Urban)
Commercial/industrial development planned for former Galaxy Motors site

Colwood proposal goes to public hearing Jan. 25

Mark Braunagel fills the back seat of his truck with backpacks and bags full of supplies the Grade 9 leadership class at ADSS collected for some of Port Alberni’s vulnerable people. (Jan. 15, 2021) (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Alberni high school students fill backpacks to help city’s homeless

Junior leadership students embraced service project, said teacher Mike Roberts

Most Read