In remarks after a mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building, Biden decried the events as an assault on the rule of law and demanded an end to the “chaos.”
“Let me be very clear — the scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America, do not represent who we are. What we are seeing is a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness. This is not dissent. It’s disorder. It’s chaos. It borders on sedition and it must end now,” Biden said.
“It’s not protest. It’s insurrection,” Biden said.
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 6, 2021
Biden called on Trump to “step up” and condemn the violence. Trump earlier had issued two tweets calling on protesters to be “peaceful” but has faced pressure from Republican allies and former aides to speak out more forcefully against the violence.
Minutes after Biden’s comments, Trump posted a video to his Twitter account urging supporters to “go home in peace” while reiterating a false claim that he won the presidential election.
Pro-Trump protesters flooded into Washington, D.C., to support some GOP lawmakers’ and the president’s efforts to challenge the results of the 2020 election. Trump delivered a midday speech to the crowd on the National Mall in which he repeated claims that the election was “stolen” and urged them to go to the Capitol.
Biden, who was supposed to speak about the economy Wednesday afternoon, called the violence an “assault on the citadel of liberty” perpetrated by a “mob.” He also blamed Trump for inciting the events.
“The words of a president matter no matter how good or bad that president is. At their best, the words of a president can inspire. At their worst, they can incite,” Biden said. “Therefore, 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.”
Biden’s words came after a swarm of right-wing extremists egged on by President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday while Republicans in Congress began their attempt to subvert democracy and block certification of the electoral college count from the 2020 presidential election.
“House pool reports we’re getting in right now is that there is an armed standoff at the House front door, police have guns drawn and someone is trying to reach the front door,” CNN’s Manu Raju said.
The rioters descended on DC from across the country as part of a so-called “Stop The Steal” protest, organized by Trump allies who have bought into debunked conspiracy theories that the election was fraudulent. Trump was handily defeated by President-elect Joe Biden by 7 million votes and a 306-232 margin in the Electoral College.
Despite that reality, thousands of Trump supporters marched on the Capitol shortly after Trump addressed them, again lied about the election results, and urged them to support his attempted coup. They listened and within hours were violently attacking police officers—despite for months insisting they “backed the Blue”—and trying to breach the Capitol building in an act of domestic terrorism.
As he was sheltering in the Longworth Office Building because protestors had stormed the capital, Rep Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) called into MSNBC around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.
“Obviously, I have never experienced anything like this,” he said from his office.
He talked about hearing explosions, having to lock his doors and repeatedly getting alerts through his computer system. Boyle told anchors Chuck Todd, Katie Tur and Andrea Mitchell that his staff had been prepared for a “long night” and to take precautions during the day, like using the underground tunnels system.
However, he said, he didn’t expect chaos to arrive so early in the proceedings.
“This is much worse than I was anticipating,” Boyle said.
Some protesters began physically scaling the Capitol, while others breached the building and made their way outside the Senate chamber, according to the Huffington Post.
The violent clashes earlier forced a lockdown of the House and Senate, interrupting the certification process and also forcing evacuations of the Madison Library of Congress Building and the Cannon House Office Building, forcing reporters, congressional staff to leave.
Rep. Haley Stevens of Michigan, a Democrat, wrote on Twitter that she was forced to shelter in place in her office amid the chaos.
Rep. Nancy Mace, a Republican from Oklahoma, was also forced to evacuate and denounced the violence.
Wednesday’s incidents came after similar clashes on Tuesday evening, where right wing protesters clashed with police.