Hours After Telling Followers Who Rioted They're Un-American, Trump Calls Supporters 'Patriots'
President Donald Trump also tweeted that he would not be attending Joe Biden's inauguration this month
Less than 48 hours after a violent mob of the president's supporters breached the U.S. Capitol in an attempted insurrection that led to the death of a police officer, Donald Trump is again calling his followers "patriots."
"The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future," Trump tweeted on Friday morning. "They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!"
Minutes later, the president issued another tweet, writing that he would not be attending the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
The tweets came hours after Trump released a pre-recorded video decrying the violence in the U.S. Capitol as un-American.
"The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy," Trump said, reading his speech from a teleprompter. "To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law, you will pay."
The attempted coup on Wednesday followed a rally led by Trump and his allies near the White House. (Trump had earlier encouraged his supporters to attend the rally, tweeting that it was going to "be wild.")
After urging his followers to "march" to the Capitol and "be strong," the mob did exactly that, eventually overtaking police officers and forcing their way inside the building, desecrating the halls of Congress, trashing the offices of lawmakers, and upending the electoral ratification process.
The violence also led to the death of some of Trump's own supporters.
As reports began to surface that the Capitol had been breached — and that lawmakers including Vice President Mike Pence were forced to evacuate as a result — Trump released a video addressing the rioters.
Though he called for the mob to disperse, Trump also told those in the Capitol they were "very special," adding: "We love you."
The president then tweeted, asking his followers to "Remember this day forever!"
The video and tweet were quickly removed and restricted on social media due to "risk of violence," and Trump has since been "indefinitely" banned from Instagram and Facebook.
Trump has a long history of sympathizing with his supporters even when they turn violent.
The president also has a history of softening his language after being accused of going too far, only to backtrack later and double down on his initial rhetoric.
In August 2017, in the wake of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville that led to the death of a counter-protestor, Trump condemned the events as "an egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence," though he hedged his criticism by saying the violence came from "many sides."
Criticism of the "many sides" comment came almost immediately, leading Trump to amend his response with a more formal statement in which he said those who participated in the rally were "repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans."
Just one day later, though, he had changed his tone yet again, telling reporters at a now-infamous press conference there were "very fine people" among the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who participated in the march.