President Donald Trump, a Republican under pressure to resign after his supporters carried out a deadly breach of the US Capitol last week, on Tuesday called preparations to impeach him in US Congress "absolutely ridiculous" and said they were causing "tremendous anger."
Trump, speaking as he boarded Marine One at the White House for a trip to Texas, called his likely impeachment in the House of Representatives on Wednesday a "continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics."
He said there was tremendous anger about moves to impeach him but added he did not want violence.
"I want no violence," Trump told reporters as he left for a trip to the border wall in Alamo, Texas.
In his first remarks to reporters since Dec. 8, the embattled president did not answer a question about whether he would resign.
Trump would become the first U.S. president to be impeached twice if the House of Representatives votes in favor of impeachment on Wednesday.
With only eight days left in his one-term administration, Trump finds himself alone, shunned by former supporters, barred by social media, and now facing a second impeachment over his instigation of a riot against Congress on January 6.
His trip to Alamo, Texas, where he will tout claims of success in building a US-Mexican border wall, is his first live public appearance since he rallied thousands of followers on the National Mall to march on Congress.
Ever since the November 3 election, the real estate tycoon has been obsessively pushing a lie that he, not Democrat Joe Biden, was the real winner and last week, in a speech he described Tuesday as "totally appropriate," he called on the huge crowd to "show strength."
Amped up on Trump's rhetoric, the mob burst into Congress, fighting with police, trashing offices and forcing frightened lawmakers to suspend briefly a ceremony legally formalizing Biden's victory.
The crisis galvanized many of Trump's former boosters in the corporate and sporting world to turn their backs.
In Congress, where the Republican party has been in thrall to the populist leader for four years, even ultra-loyal senior figures like Senator Lindsey Graham have finally told Trump that he must accept his election defeat.
Trump, however, remains in denial.
He has yet to congratulate Biden or urge his supporters to stand behind the incoming president after he is inaugurated on January 20 -- a gesture of political unity considered all but routine after US elections.
The House of Representatives will vote Tuesday on a longshot bid to get Vice President Mike Pence and the cabinet to invoke the US Constitution's 25th Amendment, which would declare Trump unfit to perform his duties and install Pence as acting president.
This is unlikely to happen.
Although Pence is reportedly furious about Trump's behavior last week, the two met at the White House on Monday for the first time since the Congress attack and had "a good conversation," according to a senior administration official.
That signaled that whatever Pence and the dwindling number of White House officials feel, they are committed to keeping the presidency limping along until January 20.