“President-elect Joe Biden called for “just plain decency” on Wednesday to be restored as a crowd incited by his predecessor stormed the U.S. Capitol and delayed Congress from certifying the outcome of the election in November in which the White House was won by Biden.
Biden wanted to give a speech focused on how to stimulate an economy and bring financial aid from his native Delaware to small business owners suffering from the coronavirus pandemic.
But protesters broke into the capital shortly before he began speaking, going as high as the floor of the Parliament. As Vice President Mike Pence and senators were evacuated to safe areas, the building was shut down and officers with weapons drawn marched in. National Guard units were mobilized, and soon after dusk a citywide curfew was called for, as rioters continued to occupy the capital for hours.
“At this hour our democracy is under unprecedented assault unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times,” Biden said, adding that what unfolded was, “an assault on the rule of law like few times we have ever seen it.”
He said the uprising bordered on sedition, adding, “The scenes of chaos at the capitol do not reflect a true America, do not represent who we are.”
“I call on this mob to pull back and allow democracy to go forward,” Biden said. “At their best the words of a president can inspire, at their worst they can incite.”
Biden also called on Trump to “go on national television now” to “demand an end to this siege.”
A joint session of Congress had convened to certified Biden’s election victory. But as that was occurring, Trump addressed thousands of demonstrators who had amassed outside the Capitol to cheer his baseless claims of voter fraud and to protest the results of a free and fair election simply because the candidate they support lost it.
Trump’s supporters moved on to besiege the Capitol — leading to unsettling scenes of chaos and violence unseen in Washington for decades.