President Donald Trump has conceded for the first time that Joe Biden will be the next US president, a day after his supporters stormed the US Capitol as Congress was certifying Joe Biden’s victory.
Mr Trump, who as recently as Thursday morning (local time) had continued to claim falsely that the election had been stolen from him, said that “serving as your president has been the honour of my lifetime” in a video released on Thursday evening.
“America is, and must always be, a nation of law and order,” he said.
“The demonstrators who infiltrated the capital have defiled the seat of American democracy.
“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.”
Mr Trump said he was turning his attention to a smooth and orderly transition after Congress certified the presidential election victory of Democrat Mr Biden following the storming of the US Capitol by Trump supporters.
“Now, Congress has certified the results. A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation,” Mr Trump said in the video posted on Twitter.
The statement was a stark reversal for Mr Trump, who has spent months insisting he prevailed in the November 3 election due to widespread fraud, despite no evidence.
Mr Trump said his campaign had “vigorously pursued every legal avenue” to contest the results, but that tempers must now “be cooled and calm restored”.
“My only goal was to ensure the integrity of the vote. In so doing, I was fighting to defend American democracy,” he said.
“I continue to strongly believe that we must reform our election laws to verify the identity and eligibility of all voters, and to ensure faith and confidence in all future elections.”
Mr Trump’s remarks arrived after top Democrats called for his removal from office following Wednesday’s assault.