President-Elect Joe Biden called on President Donald Trump to go on national television and call off the “mob” as pro-Trump protesters swarmed the Capitol, sending lawmakers, Capitol staff and reporters into lockdown.
“I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfill his oath, defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege,” Biden said.
Biden had initially intended to give remarks on the economy, though his speech was delayed while chaos unfurled on Capitol Hill.
Trump urged his followers to go protest the joint session of Congress, during which the Electoral College vote was to be certified, earlier in the day. They followed orders, eventually breaching the building, culminating in an armed standoff. One woman has reportedly been shot.
“At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times,” Biden said. “Assault on the citadel of liberty, the Capitol itself.”
“It’s not protest,” he added. “It’s insurrection. And the world’s watching.”
He reflected on the best of what America can be and has been, outside of this “dark moment.” He called the certification of the Electoral College vote, which the protesters disrupted and which many Republicans had unprecedentedly planned to vote against, a “sacred ritual.”
“This God awful display today is bringing home to every Republican and Democrat and independent in the nation that we must step up,” he said, adding: “So, President Trump, step up.”
As Biden was speaking, Trump published a video to Twitter saying that while he “loves” the protesters, they have to “go home now.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2021
As Biden left the stage, according to the transition pool, he initially ignored reporters’ questions about fear over his inauguration, only to hop back on the stage to address them.
“I am not concerned about my safety, security, or the inauguration,” he said. “I’m not concerned. The American people are going to stand up, stand up now. Enough is enough is enough.”