Donald Trump on Thursday acknowledged his presidency was ending and promised a smooth transition to Joe Biden in the wake of a mob attack by his supporters on the US Capitol now known to have left five people dead.

After two of his cabinet secretaries quit in protest following Wednesday’s mayhem, an unusually tame Trump condemned rioters who rampaged in his name through a congressional session that certified Biden’s victory, although he did not go so far as to congratulate or even say the name of his successor.

“This moment calls for healing and reconciliation,” Trump said in a video released on Twitter after a temporary suspension, a jarring shift of tone a day after a rally in which he encouraged thousands of supporters to march on the Capitol.

“We have just been through an intense election and emotions are high, but now tempers must be cooled and calm restored,” said Trump, standing before a lectern with the presidential seal.

“A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power,” he said.

“Serving as your president has been the honor of my lifetime,” Trump said, without explicitly conceding and insisting he was “fighting to defend American democracy.”

AFP