President Donald Trump finally committed to "an orderly transition" of power Thursday minutes after Congress confirmed President-elect Joe Biden's election win.
The striking reversal came hours after a violent mob of the president's supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, and followed weeks of Trump and his allies fighting the election results.
"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," Trump said, according to a statement attributed to him and released by the White House.
Trump was unable to release the statement himself after Twitter temporarily locked his accounts for "repeated and severe violations" of the company's civic integrity policy.
Trump has repeatedly and baselessly claimed that the election was stolen or that there was widespread fraud, for which there has been no evidence.
Not long before the mob descended on the Capitol, Trump told protesters at a rally near the White House that "we're going to have to fight much harder."
Even after the assault on the Capitol, Trump continued to push conspiracy theories about the election on social media. In a video posted to Twitter, he repeated unfounded claims that the election was taken from him and encouraged his supporters to disperse. He said that law and order were needed and that he loved his supporters.
He also repeatedly urged Vice President Mike Pence, who presided over the vote count in Congress, to throw out states' votes or somehow send them back to the states, which he does not have the power to do.
After the assault on the Capitol, Trump faced mounting pressure from previous backers to accept that Biden had won.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a Trump ally, said after the riot that Biden was lawfully elected and that it was time to accept it.
"Count me out. Enough is enough," he said. "We've got to end it."
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also called the riot a “failed insurrection” and underscored lawmakers’ duty to confirm the vote. He stopped short however, of acknowledging that Trump and his own party had incited the riots.
In addition, a growing number of White House officials submitted their resignations on Wednesday, including Melania Trump's chief of staff, and deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews.
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Other more senior members of the Trump administration were also considering putting in their letters of resignation, including national security adviser Robert O'Brien, deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, according to people familiar with the matter.
Some Democratic lawmakers, meanwhile, called for the president’s impeachment.
Biden on Wednesday emotionally condemned the violence saying that it "borders on sedition" and implored Trump to go on national television to "demand an end to this siege."
"The words of a president matter, no matter how good or bad that president," Biden said. "At their best, the words of a president can inspire. At their worst, they can incite."