Biden: "That is not a protest - it’s an insurrection"
Joe Biden has blasted the "insurrection" of Donald Trump supporters who stormed the US Congress in a riot that saw a woman shot dead and many arrested.
As police worked to clear a pro-Trump rioters that stormed Capitol Hill as Congress was certifying the results of the 2020 election, President-elect Joe Biden addressed the nation from Wilmington, Delaware.
"At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times," Biden said. "An assault on the citadel of liberty: the Capitol itself. An assault on the people’s representatives and the Capitol Hill police sworn to protect them and on public servants that work at the heart of our republic. An assault on the rule of law like few times we’ve ever seen it. An assault on our most sacred of American undertakings: the doing of the people’s business."
The Democrat demanded outgoing President Donald Trump "step up" and repudiate the violence. Trump had urged the demonstrators to march on the Capitol, and later called on them to "go home".
US Vice-President Mike Pence started the session on Wednesday evening, saying it had been a "dark day in the history of the United States Capitol". Protesters fought their way past police into the complex, shouting and waving Trump and US flags, demanding the results of the presidential election be overturned.
"Democracy Is Under Unprecedented Assault"
Biden, who defeated the Republican president in November's White House election, said the protesters' activity "borders on sedition".
"I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfil his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege," Biden said.
"Today is a reminder — a painful one – that democracy is fragile. To preserve it, requires people of goodwill, leaders with the courage to stand up, who are devoted not to the pursuit of power, or their personal interest — their own selfish interests — but to the common good," he added.
"There has never been anything we can’t do, when we do it together. This God-awful display today is bringing home to every Republican, Democrat, independent in the nation we must step up. This is the United States of America. There’s never, ever, ever, ever, ever been a thing we’ve tried to do, when we’ve done it together, that we’ve not been able to do," he said, "So, President Trump, step up."
As Biden was speaking, Jon Ossoff was officially projected winner of the Senate contest in Georgia, a victory that ensures Democrats will control the U.S. Senate upon Biden’s inauguration on January 20. Minutes after Biden's speech, Trump posted on Twitter, telling his violent supporters to go home, adding, "we love you, you’re very special."