President Donald Trump on Tuesday defended the speech he gave at a rally last Wednesday before a mob of his supporters stormed the US Capitol in a riot that left five people dead. Trump also lashed out at social media platforms that blocked him out of concern he could incite more violence ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.
"I believe it's going to be a catastrophic mistake for them," Trump, who is traveling to Texas today, told reporters at Joint Base Andrews. "They're dividing and divisive, and they're showing something that I've been predicting for a long time."
In an unprecedented move, Twitter on Friday permanently banned Trump, while Facebook indefinitely blocked the president's account. Google, Apple and Amazon also took action against Parler, a social network popular with far-right and extremist users, which rioters used to help plan the attack on the Capitol.
Trump also criticized efforts by Democrats to impeach the president a second time. (Here's how to watch the House's impeachment vote live.)
"On the impeachment, it's really a continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics," Trump said to reporters as he was leaving the White House. "It's absolutely ridiculous. This impeachment is causing tremendous anger ... and it's really a terrible thing that they're doing."
House Democrats on Monday formally introduced an article of impeachment against Trump, charging him with "incitement of insurrection" for his role in the deadly riot at the US Capitol. The House is expected to consider the article of impeachment, which has over 200 co-sponsors, when it reconvenes on Wednesday.
At the center of the impeachment move is a speech Trump gave in front of the White House prior to the Capitol riot. On Tuesday, he defended the speech, saying, "people thought that what I said was totally appropriate." In the speech, Trump, among other things, repeated falsehoods about the presidential election being stolen and told supporters they needed to "fight like hell."