Washington — President Trump acknowledged his loss in the November 3 election for the first time overnight Thursday and said there "will be an orderly transition on January 20th," after Congress concluded the electoral vote count certifying President-elect Joe Biden's victory and after a day of violence when his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol.
Mr. Trump said in a statement tweeted by his social media director Dan Scavino, "Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th."
He added, "I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it's only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again."
Mr. Trump's account was temporarily locked by Twitter Wednesday, necessitating the use of Scavino's account.
The president didn't concede but his statement was as close as he's come to conceding an election he falsely insists was stolen.
Mr. Trump has spent the last two months making baseless allegations of mass voter fraud that have been rejected by dozens of courts and Republican officials, including his former attorney general, William Barr.
Vice President Mike Pence presided over the formal session that ended early Thursday morning tallying the electoral college vote.
The president had encouraged his supporters Wednesday to march on the Capitol to protest lawmakers' actions, and later appeared to excuse the violent occupation of the Capitol by the mob, which forced its way inside, clashed with police and ransacked offices.
Authorities said. One woman was shot by an officer outside the House chamber, and three others died in "medical emergencies" during the occupation of the building, Washington, D.C., police said.
"These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long," Mr. Trump wrote in a message that was later deleted by Twitter. He added, "Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!"
In an earlier video, he had praised the protesters as "special" people and said he understood their pain. Twitter later locked his account for the first time as it demanded he remove the tweets and threatened "permanent suspension."
Mr. Trump spent much of Wednesday afternoon watching the rioting on television from his private dining room off the Oval Office. But aside from relatively mild appeals for calm issued at the insistence of his staff, he was largely disengaged as the nation's capital descended into unprecedented scenes of chaos as a mob of thousands tried to halt the peaceful transition of power.