President-elect Joe Biden called for pro-Trump protesters who have besieged the United States Capitol amid the counting of electoral votes to "pull back," and sternly called for President Trump to deliver an address on national television and demand "an end to this siege."
"This is not dissent. It's disorder. It's chaos. It borders on sedition and it must end. Now," Mr. Biden said in remarks from Wilmington, Delaware. "I call on this mob to pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward."
Demonstrators wearing red "Make America Great Again" hats and carrying Trump 2020 flags stormed up the steps of the U.S. Capitol while lawmakers, assembled inside the House and Senate chambers, debated an objection to the electoral votes from Arizona brought by Republicans.
The scene turned violent and descended into chaos as some in the crowd gained entry into the Capitol building, sending the proceedings in the House and Senate into recess and the Capitol into lockdown. Lawmakers, staff and journalists covering the joint session, which is typically a formality, were evacuated as U.S. Capitol Police and law enforcement struggled to gain control of the violent mob.
Mr. Trump sent a pair of tweets, one calling for his supporters to respect law enforcement and another asking them to "remain peaceful," and released a recorded video telling the protesters to "go home now."
But President-elect Biden called for Mr. Trump to make an address to the nation on television to "fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege." Mr. Biden encouraged the president to "step up."
"At the best, the words of a president can inspire. At the worst, they can incite," he said.
Mr. Biden said the actions of the mob do not bear the hallmarks of protest, but of "insurrection."
"At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault, unlike anything we've seen in modern times," he said. "An assault on the citadel of liberty, the Capitol itself. An assault on the people's representatives, the Capitol Hill police sworn to protect them, and the public servants who work in the heart of our republic. An assault on the rule of law like few times we've ever seen it. An assault on the most sacred of American undertakings, the doing of the people's business."
Mr. Biden said the scene at the U.S. Capitol "does not represent who we are."
First published on January 6, 2021 / 4:39 PM