Donald Trump conceded that Joe Biden would become US president this month, putting an end to his unprecedented campaign to overturn the results of November’s election.
The president acknowledged his defeat as Democratic leaders mounted a push to forcibly remove him from office after he came under intense criticism for inciting a mob attack on Congress on Wednesday while it presided over the certification of the electoral college results.
In a video posted to Twitter on Thursday evening, Mr Trump tried to distance himself from the assault on the nation’s capital, accusing violent demonstrators of “defiling the seat of American democracy”.
He conceded that Congress had certified the election results and that “a new administration will be inaugurated on January 20”, although he stopped short of congratulating Mr Biden, who he did not mention by name.
“My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power,” said Mr Trump, reading from a teleprompter. “This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”
He added: “Serving as your president has been the honour of my lifetime.”
The video message from Mr Trump followed a day of violent unrest in the nation’s capital, and marked a sharp contrast from a fiery speech he delivered on Wednesday in which he said: “We will never give up. We will never concede . . . You don’t concede when there’s theft involved.”