United States President-Elect Joe Biden on Wednesday said the storming of the Capitol building by outgoing President Donald Trump’s supporters marked an “unprecedented assault” on the country’s democracy, CNN reported. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, former President Barack Obama and senators, including several Republicans, also lashed out at Trump over the rioting.
A mob stormed the Capitol building as the US Congress met to certify Biden’s victory. The rioters broke windows, tore flags and even reached the Senate chamber. Four people have died and 52 were arrested following the violence. Trump had encouraged his supporters to stage protests, hours before the storming of the Capitol. For months, he has also been trying to overturn Biden’s victory and promote conspiracy theories about election results.
Biden said that the action of Trump’s supporters was not dissent but disorder. “It’s chaos,” the president-elect said. “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.” He added that the attack was an assault on the “citadel of liberty”. Biden called on Trump to make a television appearance and end the “siege”
The president-elect said the events at the US Capitol were not a true reflection of the country, adding that people who started the violence were “extremists dedicated to lawlessness.”
Harris joined Biden in calling for an end to the “assault on the Capitol and our nation’s public servants”.
Former US President Barack Obama blamed Trump for the violence. “History will rightly remember today’s violence at the Capitol, incited by a sitting president who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election, as a moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation,” he said in a statement. “But we’d be kidding ourselves if we treated it as a total surprise.”
Obama, however, praised Republican leaders for speaking out against Trump. “I’ve been heartened to see many members of the President’s party speak up forcefully today,” he said. “Their voices add to the examples of Republican state and local election officials in states like Georgia who’ve refused to be intimidated and have discharged their duties honorably.”
Senator Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s long-term allies, expressed his frustration with him, Politico reported. “Trump and I, we’ve had a hell of a journey,” he said. “I hate it to end this way. All I can say is – count me out. Enough is enough.”
Senator Mitt Romney issued a statement against Trump, in which he accused him of inciting the violence. “We gather today due to a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of his supporters whom he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action this very morning,” Romney said. “What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States.”
The Republican senator added that those who supported Trump’s claims of election fraud were also complicit in the violence. “They will be remembered for their role in this shameful episode in American history,” he added. “That will be their legacy.”
Tom Cotton, who is a senator from Arkansas, said Trump should stop misleading the people and accept his election defeat. “And the senators and representatives who fanned the flames by encouraging the president and leading their supporters to believe that their objections could reverse the election results should withdraw those objections,” he added. “In any event, the Congress will complete its constitutional responsibilities tonight.”
After the situation was brought under control, the House reconvened. The Senate rejected a move by Trump’s allies to object to Joe Biden’s Arizona’s victory. The Senate voted 93-6 against the measure.
Meanwhile, some members of the US Cabinet began discussing Trump’s removal by invoking the 25th Amendment, according to CNN. The discussions are underway.