President Trump wanted to be in the House of Representatives to observe his second impeachment and defend himself, it has been reported, but was talked out of it by his advisers.
As the house voted 232 to 197 on Wednesday to impeach Mr Trump for the second time, the president released a video condemning the Capitol riots and saying he was “shocked” by the scenes of violence.
Yet according the the New York Times, regardless of the note struck in that public-facing video Mr Trump remained defiant and sullen behind closed doors.
Quoting sources inside the White House, the Times said while the house was voting, Mr Trump was furious at Republican members for opposing him on the floor, particularly at Kevin McCarthy for publicly condemning him, and was giving a hard time to advisers who are trying to trace a path for a respectable exit and possible 2024 run.
“Advisers said that Mr Trump had to be dissuaded from going to the House floor to try to defend himself during Wednesday’s impeachment proceedings, something he wanted to do during his first impeachment in December 2019,” an unnamed source told the newspaper.
Some advisers of the president also suggested he resign a few days before his term ends in order to avoid the risk of conviction and getting barred from running in 2024, but Mr Trump refused citing the example of Nixon, saying his influence in the party fell after he resigned.
The president has also left open the possibility of pardoning himself, despite warnings from advisers that he would inflame investigators who are already pursuing him.
Mr Trump in his five-minute video did not talk about the impeachment directly. He neither expressed that he is willing to concede nor repeated his claims of election fraud. However, the report by the Times says that Mr Trump still believes he won the election and said as much to his team on his way to Texas on Tuesday.