President Donald Trump justified the actions of his angry and violent supporters who attempted a coup at the US Capitol on Wednesday with a tweet and video that continued to spread lies about the election.
Citing "severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy," Twitter removed the two posts Wednesday evening.
The video, posted first, came after legislators were evacuated because the mob had violently pushed through police barricades and made their way into the legislative chambers. In the video, Trump told them to go home, but he also repeated the lies that had motivated their actions.
"I know your pain," Trump said in the video. "We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election, and everyone knows it, especially the other side."
The president pushed the very same conspiracy theories that brought the angry crowd onto the steps of the Capitol on Wednesday as Congress was set to count Electoral College votes and certify President-elect Joe Biden's win. Only after repeating the lies did Trump tell the mob to go home.
"We have to have peace," Trump said. "We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law in order. We don't want anybody hurt."
Minutes later, Trump went farther and justified the violence of his supporters, describing them as "great patriots."
"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," he wrote, before telling supporters to, again, "Go home."
Trump's video was labeled by Twitter as "disputed," and the platform also blocked replies and sharing "due to a risk of violence." It was later removed from the platform, along with a subsequent tweet from the president telling his supporters to "Remember this day forever!"
The tweets were removed by Twitter in an unprecedented action by the social media platform that has for years refused to delete or suspend the account of the president, where he has been pushing dangerous conspiracy theories unfettered.
The company also announced that, for the first time, it would lock Trump's personal account for 12 hours.
"If the Tweets are not removed, the account will be locked," the company said.
Future violations of the forum's rules could also result in the permanent suspension of the president from the social media platform — a move that for more than four years Twitter had pushed back against.
The video was also removed by Facebook.
"This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures," Facebook VP of Integrity Guy Rosen said in a tweet. "On balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence."
A woman died on Wednesday after being shot inside the Capitol building.
Only hours before his calls for peace, Trump had urged the crowd to descend onto the streets of DC.
And on Tuesday, the president had pressed Republicans to "FIGHT" and reject the election results, despite multiple defeats in courts that found no evidence of massive voter fraud.
Just minutes before Trump's video was published, Biden addressed the nation and encouraged the president to go on national television and tell his supporters to stop the violence.
"The words of a president matter, no matter how good or bad that president is," Biden said. "So President Trump: Step up."
Instead, Trump continued to sow disorder and embrace the mob.
"There's never been a period of time like this when such a thing happened when they could take it away from all of us," Trump said in the video.
He added: "We love you. You're very special."