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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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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