White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany gave a brief statement Thursday after a mob seized the Capitol and interrupted Congress certifying the next president of the United States.
McEnany said they are grieving the loss of life and for those injured.
"What we saw yesterday was a group of violent rioters undermining the legitimate First Amendment rights of the many thousands who came to peacefully have their voices heard," she said. "Those who violently besieged our Capitol are the opposite of everything this administration stands for."
She said people in the White House are working to ensure an orderly transition of power.
Four protesters died including one shot inside the building.
"Now it is time for America to unite," McEnany said.
The comments came after Facebook, Instagram and Twitter temporarily suspended President Donald Trump's social media accounts.
Trump has repeatedly harnessed the power of social media to spread falsehoods about election integrity and the results of the presidential race.
Trump and his allies encouraged protesters to turn out in force and support his false claim that the election had been stolen from him. He egged them on during a rally shortly before they marched to the Capitol and rioted. His personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, a former New York mayor known for his tough-on-crime stance, called for “trial by combat.”
On Wednesday, social media companies focused on a video Trump posted more than two hours after protesters entered the Capitol, interrupting lawmakers meeting in an extraordinary joint session to confirm the Electoral College results and President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Republican lawmakers and previous administration officials had begged Trump to give a statement to his supporters to quell the violence.
While Trump told supporters that "you have to go home now,” he also repeated false claims about voter fraud affecting the election. He then added: “We can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You’re very special.”
Despite plenty of warnings of a possible insurrection and ample resources and time to prepare, the Capitol Police planned only for a free speech demonstration.
But officials also were intent on avoiding any appearance that the federal government was deploying active duty or National Guard troops against Americans.
The result is the U.S. Capitol was overrun Wednesday and officers in a law enforcement agency with a large operating budget and experience in high-security events protecting lawmakers were overwhelmed for the world to see.
The rioting and loss of control by has raised serious questions over security at the Capitol for future events. The actions of the day also raise troubling concerns about the treatment of mainly white Trump supporters who were allowed to roam through the building for hours, while Black and brown protesters who demonstrated last year over police brutality were faced more robust and aggressive policing.
“This was a failure of imagination, a failure of leadership,” said Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, whose department responded to several large protests last year following the death of George Floyd. “The Capitol Police must do better and I don’t see how we can get around that.”
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said that as the rioting was underway, it became clear that the Capitol Police were overrun. There was no contingency planning done in advance for what forces could do in case of a problem at the Capitol. “They’ve got to ask us, the request has to come to us,” said McCarthy.
It took four hours to disperse the protesters from the Capitol complex. By then, they had roamed the halls of Congress, posed for photos inside hallowed chambers, broken through doors, destroyed property and taken photos of themselves doing it. Only 13 were arrested at the time, scores were arrested later.
In the aftermath, a 7-foot fence will go up around the Capitol grounds for at least 30 days. The Capitol Police will conduct a review of the carnage, as well as their planning and policies. Lawmakers plan to investigate how authorities handled the rioting.
McEnany said Trump’s administration found the siege of the Capitol to be “appalling, reprehensible and antithetical to the American way.”