Biden Blames Trump for Insurrection at US Capitol

“At best, the words of a president can inspire. At worst, it can incite.”

Adam Schultz/ZUMA

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President-elect Joe Biden called upon Donald Trump to appear on national television and tell the mob of his supporters that violently stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday afternoon to stand down. “The words of a President matter, no matter how good or bad that president is,” Biden said. “At best, the words of a president can inspire. At worst, it can incite.”

The president-elect had initially planned to deliver remarks on the economy Wednesday afternoon but changed his plans as news of a pro-Trump mob of terrorists stormed the Capitol to stop Congress from certifying Biden as the next president. Biden, an institutionalist with reverence for rituals like Congress’ counting of the electoral votes, deemed the insurrectionist throng an affront to “the most sacred of undertakings: the doings of the people’s business,” he said. Its actions were an “unprecedented assault” on democracy, Biden said, and “an assault on the citadel of liberty—the Capitol itself.”

Biden condemned Trump for fanning the passions of his supporters, but did not blame what happened during today’s joint session on anyone besides the president and “a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness.” Instead, he reflected on themes he often calls upon in dark moments like this one: What Biden calls America’s true character, made up “of democracy, of respect, of decency.”

“Let me be very clear: The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America,” he said. “America is so much better than what we’ve seen today.”

“The work of the moment and the work of the next four years must be the restoration of democracy and the recovery of respect for the rule of law, and the renewal of a politics that’s about solving problems,” Biden added, “not stoking the flames of hate and chaos”

At the conclusion of his remarks, reporters asked the president-elect whether he was concerned about his own safety or whether his inauguration would happen as planned. “I am not concerned about my safety, security, or inauguration,” he barked. “The American people are going to stand up, stand up now. Enough is enough is enough!”

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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