In the wake of yesterday’s shocking riots and after finally admitting defeat in November’s presidential election, Donald Trump – along with wife Melania and their teenage son Barron – are reportedly planning to vacate the White House early.
While it’s customary, according to the White House Historical Association, for the outgoing family to leave on inauguration day, the New York Times reports the “first family has discussed leaving the White House for good on Jan 19, the day before the inauguration”.
The First Lady is yet to make any statement regarding the violent breach on the Capitol – which led to her chief of staff and former aide to Mr Trump, Stephanie Grisham – to resign effective immediately.
Ms Trump has stayed silent on social media since January 2, when she shared a generic new year message to her Twitter, with legions of users questioning her absence during such a divisive period.
The Times reports that the President is also reportedly planning to give a “media exit interview”, which advisers presume “might undercut any conciliatory notes” made in a speech by him today – where he finally admitted he lost the November 3 election.
The post – his first since he was banned from Twitter yesterday – acknowledges that Democrat Joe Biden won the ballot and that the fight to retain the White House was now over.
“A new administration will be sworn in on January 20th, my focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power,” the President said.
“This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”
Read on for all the latest news from the US.
Besieged Republican senator defends himself
One of Donald Trump’s strongest supporters in Congress, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, has sought to distance himself from the President’s rhetoric in the wake of this week’s events.
Mr Cruz was one of only half a dozen Republican senators who persisted with their objections to the electoral college results after the assault on the Capitol.
He has faced various levels of criticism since, with some Democrats calling for him to resign or be turfed from Congress.
His Republican colleagues have not gone that far, instead criticising him for undermining the election result and fundraising off the effort to keep Mr Trump in power.
“You have some senators who, for political advantage, were giving false hope to their supporters. Misleading them into thinking that somehow yesterday’s actions in Congress could reverse the result of the election, or even get some kind of emergency audit of the results,” Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican, said yesterday.
“That was never going to happen. Yet these senators, as insurrectionists literally stormed the Capitol, were sending out fundraising emails. That shouldn’t have happened, and it’s got to stop now.”
He was quite obviously talking about Mr Cruz, as well as Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, who also led the objections to Joe Biden’s election win.
Speaking to ABC 13, Mr Cruz defended himself.
“The President’s language and rhetoric often goes too far. I think, (on Wednesday) in particular, the president’s language and rhetoric crossed the line and it was reckless.
“I disagree with it, and I have disagreed with the president’s language and rhetoric for the last four years.
“If you looked to what I have said, you will not find me say the same language or rhetoric.”
Asked specifically about his critics within the Republican Party, Mr Cruz slammed them for seeking political advantage after the Capitol assault.
“I do think it’s really cynical for them to try and take advantage of what was a tragic event that occurred in Washington. The terrorist attack on the Capitol was despicable,” he said.
Mr Cotton and Mr Rubio are certainly playing politics to some extent. All of these men are probably going to be running for president, against each other, in 2024.
Capitol police officer died after he was hit with fire extinguisher
The US Capitol police officer who died after the riots on Wednesday was hit with a fire extinguisher, according to reports.
Brian Sicknick died at around 9.30pm on Thursday evening local time after he was injured while “physically engaging” with the rioters, US Capitol Police confirmed in a statement.
Two law enforcement officials told the New York Times that Mr Sicknick was hit with a fire extinguisher during the break-in.
“He returned to his division office and collapsed,” police said in the statement. “He was taken to a local hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.”
His death brings the fatalities linked to the chaos to five, after rioter Ashli Babbitt was shot and killed by an officer and three other people died due to medical emergencies in the Capitol Hill area.