Trump tweets video after Twitter's lock on his account expires

The outgoing president's account was locked for 12 hours due to tweets that violated Twitter's rules and amid a pro-Trump riot on Capitol Hill.

Queenie Wong Former Senior Writer
Queenie Wong was a senior writer for CNET News, focusing on social media companies including Facebook's parent company Meta, Twitter and TikTok. Before joining CNET, she worked for The Mercury News in San Jose and the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon. A native of Southern California, she took her first journalism class in middle school.
Expertise I've been writing about social media since 2015 but have previously covered politics, crime and education. I also have a degree in studio art. Credentials
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Queenie Wong
2 min read

President Donald Trump

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President Donald Trump said Thursday in a video that he's focused on "ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power" after violence broke out a day earlier when his supporters stormed the US Capitol.

In the video, which marked the closest Trump has come to conceding that he lost the 2020 election, the president acknowledged Congress had certified the results, a process that was interrupted by Wednesday's riot. Trump didn't mention President-elect Joe Biden by name. "A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20th," Trump said, appearing to read from a teleprompter. (In a subsequent tweet, Trump said he wouldn't be attending the inauguration.)

Trump's remarks, which were shared on Twitter  at 4:10 p.m. PT, came after the social media site locked his account for at least 12 hours following three tweets that violated the company's rules against interfering in elections or other civic processes. In the tweets, Trump pushed false claims about election fraud -- a bogus grievance the president has repeated for weeks. Other social networks such as Facebook locked Trump's account indefinitely.

The president touched on those complaints in the video, saying he still believed the US should reform its election laws to verify the identity and validity of voters. He also criticized people who took over the US Capitol on Wednesday.

"The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy," he said. "To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country."

Thursday's taped statement came a day after Trump released another taped statement in a tweet -- one of the three that were deleted -- telling the rioters to go home but referring to them as "special people." He also used the video to recirculate false claims of voter fraud, as he has done for months.
"We love you," Trump told the rioters in the previous video.

Since then, a growing chorus of lawmakers has called for Trump's impeachment and for his removal from power through the 25th Amendment, on the grounds of provoking the mob to break into and deface the US Capitol.

Twitter's move to lock Trump's account came after University of Virginia law professor Danielle Citron, journalist Kara Swisher, Obama Foundation CTO Leslie Miley, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt and other high-profile figures urged the short-message app to boot the president from the platform.

In the past, Twitter has placed a public interest notice over Trump's tweets for glorifying violence, a label that limits the spread of the tweet. Trump has more than 88 million followers on Twitter, allowing him to reach a massive audience online. 

"Our public interest policy -- which has guided our enforcement action in this area for years -- ends where we believe the risk of harm is higher and/or more severe," Twitter said.