Describing the ongoing chaos being wrought by Trump supporters in Washington, D.C. as a “dark moment” in American history, President-elect Biden issued a direct statement to President Trump on Wednesday afternoon calling him to “step up” and tell his supporters to end their siege on the U.S. Capitol.
Some minutes after Biden’s live speech, Trump released a video statement to his followers that opened with the lie that “the election was stolen,” after which he went on to briefly tell his supporters to “respect our great people in law and order,” and go home, while again falsely claiming that the presidency was “taken away” from him.
“We love you. You’re very special!” Trump added.
“At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault. Unlike anything we have seen in modern times,” President-elect Biden said, speaking from Wilmington, Delaware, and exhibiting a sorely-needed presidential gravitas. “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 also spoke directly to Trump—who has spent the past several days teasing the planned protests in D.C., as part of his continuing bid to push the false claim that the election was stolen from him.
“At their best, the words of a president can inspire. At their worst, they can incite,” said Biden. “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.
He also called on Republicans and other leaders to step up in the face of what is taking place in D.C.
Today’s events thwarted the scheduled certification of Biden’s Electoral College win by Congress, after elected officials were forced to evacuate the Capitol when the rioters broke in.
“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,” said Biden. “Notwithstanding what I saw today, I remain optimistic about the incredible opportunities.”