Two weeks from his inauguration, President-elect Joe Biden strongly condemned the “unprecedented assault” on American democracy abruptly unfolding as protesters supporting President Donald Trump violently invaded the Capitol in a display of total lawlessness.
“At this hour our democracy is under unprecedented assault,” Biden said. “Unlike anything we've seen in modern times.”
Speaking from Wilmington, Del., the president-elect implored Trump to halt the increasingly tense situation on the ground in Washington, essentially pleading with him publicly to stop the insanity and restore order on the Hill. Trump, who often sends implicit or explicit instructions to his most ardent backers over Twitter, had remained quiet about the devolving state of affairs for hours before eventually tweeting to “remain peaceful.”
“I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege,” said Biden, who served for decades in the same halls where rioters roamed Wednesday afternoon.
“To storm the Capitol, to smash windows, to occupy offices, the floor of the United States Senate, rummaging through desks, on the Capitol, on the House of Representatives, threatening the safety of duly elected officials. It's not protests, it's insurrection,” he continued. “The world is watching.”
Biden’s critical but even tone offered a contrast to the appalling events that were escalating in the city where he will be inaugurated on Jan. 20. “Like so many other Americans, I am genuinely shocked and saddened that our nation so long the beacon of light and hope for democracy has come to such a dark moment,” Biden said.
Pro-Trump agitators who refused to accept his defeat acted on their plans to cause mayhem on the day that congressional leaders were certifying his Democratic opponent’s victory. The mob stormed the Capitol building causing elected officials to lock themselves in their offices. The National Guard was eventually sent out. Biden called the scene a “God awful display” and offered a moment of reflection.
“Through war and strife America has endured much and we will endure here and we will prevail again and we will prevail now,” he said. “The work of the moment and the work of the next four years must be the restoration of democracy, of decency, honor, respect. The rule of law. Just plain, simple decency.”