US President Donald Trump is seen on TV from a video message released on Twitter, seen in an empty Brady Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC on January 6, 2020.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
President Donald Trump said early Thursday that he was willing to allow an “orderly transition” of power, just minutes after Congress formally confirmed the election of Joe Biden as president.
A statement from the president on Twitter via Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Dan Scavino repeated baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, but included the reversal.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th. I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!”
The statement followed dramatic scenes on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, with pro-Trump supporters storming the building, forcing a lockdown and lawmakers to seek shelter.
Overnight, Congress reconvened and formally confirmed the election of Biden. The affirmation came after the House of Representatives and the Senate, in two separate votes in both chambers, overwhelmingly rejected efforts by some Republicans to object to the acceptance of Electoral College wins for Biden in Arizona and Pennsylvania.
Biden, a Democrat, and his running mate, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, hit 306 votes in the Electoral College, 36 more than needed to secure a White House victory. Trump, a Republican, received 232 votes.
Trump has repeatedly refused to concede the election to Biden, however, making numerous unfounded allegations of voter fraud without producing evidence.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday the outgoing president was accused of encouraging the scenes of mayhem in Washington DC, having urged his supporters to march on the Capitol.
Scenes of angry pro-Trump protestors gathered on the steps of the Capitol before pouring into the building and sweeping through the halls of Congress, sitting at lawmakers’ desks and posing for photos, draped in pro-Trump flags and merchandise, have shocked the world.
For his part, Biden condemned the storming of the Capitol, saying he was “shocked and saddened” by what he described as an insurrection.
“This is not dissent. It’s disorder. It’s chaos. It borders on sedition and it must end now,” Biden said in an address Wednesday, as he called on Trump to tell his supporters to go home.
Trump later tweeted a video in which he told supporters “you have to go home now” but again repeated false claims the election was stolen, leading to his Twitter account being temporarily frozen.
—CNBC’s Dan Mangan, Jacob Pramuk and Kevin Breuninger contributed reporting to this story.