US President Donald Trump took no responsibility for his part in instigating a violent insurrection at the US Capitol last week, which led to the deaths of five people.
Trump had encouraged his supporters to march on the Capitol in a rally ahead of the certification of Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. At a time when his supporters were clashing with Capitol police and security officers, who used tear gas and some even drew their guns point-blank, Trump praised his supporters and only told them on Twitter to "stay peaceful."
Hours after the mob of his supporters stormed the building, smashed windows, occupied offices, fought with police, and both Republican and Democratic lawmakers called on him to ask his supporters to deescalate the violence, Trump finally told his "very special" supporters to "go home" in a one-minute video he posted on Twitter.
Yet, in his first appearance in public since the Capitol siege and only eight days away from the end of his presidency, Trump said: "People thought that what I said was totally appropriate," in response to a question about personal responsibility regarding the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.
"They've analyzed my speech and my words and my final paragraph, my final sentence and everybody... thought it was totally appropriate," he said at Joint Base Andrews, before heading to Texas to sign his signature wall on the border with Mexico.
Congress has certified Biden’s victory and courts at every level have dismissed Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud.
Democrats in the US House of Representatives plan to impeach Trump on Wednesday unless he steps down or is removed before then, which would make him the only US president ever to be impeached twice.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy told Republicans on Monday that Trump had acknowledged during a phone call that he bears "some responsibility" for the siege.
"I asked him personally today if he holds responsibility for what happened, if he feels bad about what happened. He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened," McCarthy told Republicans during a 2-1/2-hour conversation, according to Reuters.
- With The AP, Reuters