'It's insurrection': Joe Biden blames Trump for Capitol riot

7 January 2021, 07:25 | Updated: 7 January 2021, 09:11

Joe Biden urged Donald Trump to 'step up' and demand an end to the 'siege'
Joe Biden urged Donald Trump to 'step up' and demand an end to the 'siege'. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Joe Biden branded last night's siege of the US Capitol "insurrection" as he demanded Donald Trump "step up" to fulfil his role as President.

The President-elect called the violent protests in Washington D.C. "an assault on the most sacred of American undertakings: the doing of the people's business".

He also demanded Mr Trump make an immediate televised address to encourage his supporters to pull back and put an and to the aggression.

"At this hour, our democracy is under an unprecedented assault. An assault on the Capitol itself," Mr Biden said.

"An assault on the people’s representatives, on the police officers sworn to protect them, and the public servants who work at the heart of our Republic.

"An assault on the rule of law. An assault on the most sacred of American undertakings: The doing of the people’s business."

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The Democrat said the uprising bordered on sedition, adding: "The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America, do not represent who we are."

He urged the mob to "pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward" before speaking of the importance of the words of a President.

"You’ve heard me say this in different contexts: 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.

"Therefore, 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."

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The President-elect said smashing windows, occupying offices and threatening the safety of elected officials "is not protest, it is insurrection".

"The world is watching," he continued, "and like so many other Americans, I am shocked and saddened that our nation, so long a beacon of light, hope, and democracy has come to such a dark moment.

Mr Biden then promised to work to restore democracy, respect for the rule of law and create a politics about problem-solving during his presidency.

He said the US "is so much better than what we’re seeing today" and he warned of the fragility of democracy.

However, he offered Americans a slither of hope for the future.

"Notwithstanding what we’ve seen today, I remain optimistic about the incredible opportunities," the Democrat said.

"There has never been anything we can’t do when we do it together. And this God-awful display today is bringing home to every Republican, Democrat, and Independent in the nation that we must step up."

He then concluded by urging Mr Trump to "step up" and encourage an end to the violence.

The disturbing scenes in Washington began while a joint session of Congress was convening to certify Mr Biden's election victory.

But outside, the President was addressing thousands of demonstrators who had gathered outside the Capitol, repeating his unfounded claims about voter fraud and a stolen election.

Thousands of his supporters then moved on to besiege the Capitol Building, breaching the Senate chamber, nearly breaching the House of Representatives, and occupying multiple offices - including that of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

As they moved through the building, they clashed with police officers and damaged windows and doors.

One woman was killed after being shot, while three others died in what are currently being labelled "medical emergencies".

The D.C. National Guard was deployed to suppress the riots and a curfew was put in place to disperse crowds.

President Trump later released a video message during which he denounced the protestors' attack in the capital.

However, during the recording he continued to peddle falsehoods about election fraud and told the rioters he "loved" them.