Social media giants Facebook and Twitter have temporarily suspended the accounts of Donald Trump, preventing him from posting any content.
In a brief statement, Twitter said the “unprecedented and ongoing violent situation” in Washington DC sparked by pro-Trump rioters warranted action.
“We have required the removal of three @realDonaldTrump tweets that were posted earlier today for repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy,” it said.
“This means that the account of @realDonaldTrump will be locked for 12 hours following the removal of these tweets. If the tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked.
“Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account.”
Shortly after, Facebook issued a brief statement saying it too was locking the president’s account for a 24-hour period after two policy violations”.
It comes after a series of posts from the president were censored or deleted entirely by Facebook and Twitter.
Hours after a large number of his supporters staged an extraordinary siege on the US Capitol building in Washington DC, Mr Trump posted a brief video message.
In it, he told rioters to “go home” after President-elect Joe Biden demanded he do more to bring an end to the violence.
But in the minute-long video on Twitter, Mr Trump still called the election he lost fraudulent.
“I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election, and everyone knows it, especially the other side,” he said.
“But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order, we have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt.
The video was his third attempt at making a statement on the storming of the US Capitol building after two tweets where he told supporters to respect law enforcement and remain peaceful.
When it aired some cable news anchors expressed they weren’t comfortable showing the video because of Trump’s continued claim the election was stolen and his failure to condemn the actions of those who stormed the Capitol.
Facebook’s Vice President of integrity Guy Rosen has said the video is going to be removed from the social media platform.
“This is an emergency situation,” Mr Rosen wrote on Twitter.
“We are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump’s video. We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to, rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.”
“It’s a very tough period of time,” Mr Trump said in the video, but he wasn’t talking about the still surging coronavirus pandemic or the growing divisions in American society.
“There’s never been a time like this, where such a thing happened, where they could take it away from all of us – from me, from you, from our country.
“This was a fraudulent election. But 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, you’ve seen what happens, you see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home, and go home in peace.”
Twitter instantly reacted to his message, barring people from replying or liking his tweet.
Two follow-up tweets from Mr Trump were deleted entirely by the social media platform.
In one, he sensationally said the riots happened because the election was “unceremoniously and viciously stripped away” from him.
He wrote: “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. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”
Earlier Mr Biden demanded Mr Trump to go on TV and “demand an end” to the “siege”.
“I initially was going to talk about the economy, but all of you have been watching what I’ve been watching,” Mr Biden said.
“At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault. Unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times. An assault on the citadel of liberty, the Capitol itself. An assault on the people’s representatives and the police sworn to protect them. And the public servants who work at the heart of our republic.
“An assault on the rule of law. On the most sacred of American undertakings – the doing of the people’s business.
“Let me be very clear. The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America, do not represent who we are. What we’re seeing is a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness.
“It borders on sedition. And it must end, now.
“I call on this mob to pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward.
“The words of a president matter, no matter how good or bad that president is. At their best, they can inspire. At their worst, they can incite.
“Therefore, I call on President Trump to go on national television now, to fulfil his oath and defend the Constitution, and demand an end to this siege.
“It’s not protest, it’s insurrection. The world is watching. Like so many other Americans, I am genuinely shocked and saddened that our nation has come to such a dark moment.
“Through war and strife, America has endured much. And we will endure here and we will prevail again.
“The work of the moment, and the work of the next four years, must be the restoration of democracy, of decency, of respect. Just plain, simple decency.
“America’s about honour, decency, respect, tolerance. That’s who we are. That’s who we’ve always been.
“Today is a reminder, a painful one, that democracy is fragile. And to preserve it requires people of good will, leaders with the courage to stand up, who are devoted not to the pursuit of power or their own selfish interests, but to the common good.
“President Trump, step up.”
TRUMP REPORTEDLY WATCHED RIOTS ON TV
While chaos descended Mr Trump was reportedly watching television from the West Wing as his supporters storm the US Capitol building.
CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins reported on Thursday morning that despite encouragement from staff to put out something more than vague calls for peace, Mr Trump was sitting in the West Wing watching coverage.
Mr Trump sent two tweets asking people to “respect the law” and “remain peaceful”.
The entire Washington D.C. national guard has been activated and is on the way as law enforcement on the scene is reportedly overwhelmed.
RELATED: Trump’s chilling words before mayhem
Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump reportedly posted that the Trump supporters outside the Capitol were “American patriots” in a since-deleted tweet.
She backtracked to say the act of “peaceful protest” was patriotic but “violence is unacceptable” and “must be condemned in the strongest terms”.
US Vice President Mike Pence, who was presiding over the electoral vote count before the protesters saw the joint session suspended, condemned the insurrection, which he described as an “attack on our Capitol” which “must stop now”.