President-elect Joe Biden demanded President Donald Trump call for an end to the coup his supporters are attempting at the US Capitol.
“I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfill his oath, to defend the Constitution, and demand an end to this siege,” Biden said during an address Wednesday afternoon.
Biden’s remarks came as rioters stormed into the Capitol, as part of a day of demonstrations from Trump’s supporters pushing for Congress to overturn the presidential election, urged on by the president. Shots were fired during the violence and video showed at least one person who appeared to have been injured.
“At this hour our democracy is under unprecedented assault, unlike anything we’ve ever 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 who are sworn to protect them and the public servants who work at the heart of our republic.”
Photos emerged online of Trump supporters occupying Congressional offices after they breached security checkpoints and made their way to Senate and House chambers. Both chambers of Congress were debating objections to electoral college votes before being placed on lockdown.
“It’s not a protest, it's an insurrection,” Biden said, describing the conditions in the Capitol. “ Like so many other Americans, I am genuinely shocked and saddened that our nation —so long a beacon of light and hope for democracy — has come to such a dark moment.”
Just after Biden finished his remarks, Trump released a video on Twitter calling his supporters "very special," asking them to "go home in peace," while continuing to assert that the election was being stolen from him.
In a tweet sent after the violence had already begun, Trump asked for his supporters to “remain peaceful,” but did not ask them to leave the Capitol complex or stop their demonstrations. Trump spoke to his supporters in Washington at a rally just before the riots at the Capitol began, insisting that he had won the election and demanding that Republicans support him in overturning the result.
After he finished his short remarks, Biden walked from the podium, ignoring shouted questions, then turned and returned to the stage to say: "I am not concerned about my safety, security, or the inauguration. I’m not concerned. The American people are going to stand up, stand up now. Enough is enough is enough."