As D.C. police worked to clear a pro-Trump mob that had stormed Capitol Hill as Congress was certifying the results of the 2020 election, President-elect Joe Biden addressed the nation from Wilmington, Delaware. “At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault unlike anything we’ve 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 sworn to protect them and on public servants that work at the heart of our republic. An assault on the rule of law like few times we’ve ever seen it. An assault on our most sacred of American undertakings: the doing of the people’s business.”
President-elect Biden addresses the nation: https://t.co/BXM3SZK25R
— Biden-Harris Presidential Transition (@Transition46) January 6, 2021
Biden reiterated the calls for unity he made throughout his campaign, and demanded President Donald Trump tell his supporters to stand down. “You heard me say before in different context: 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,” Biden said. “Therefore, 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.”
“To storm the Capitol,” Biden continued, “to smash windows, occupy offices, the floor of the United States Senate, rummaging through desks, on the Capitol, the House of Representatives, threatening the safety of duly-elected officials? That is not a protest — it’s an insurrection.”
Biden appeared to aim a few words at Sens. Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, and James Lankford and others who were objecting, without basis, to the certification of the election results when the rioters breached the Capitol. “Today is a reminder — a painful one – that democracy is fragile. To preserve it, requires people of goodwill, leaders with the courage to stand up, who are devoted not to the pursuit of power, or their personal interest — their own selfish interests — but to the common good,” Biden said.
He finished the speech, like a football coach pumping up a team that’s down at half-time. “There has never been anything we can’t do, when we do it together. This God-awful display today is bringing home to every Republican, Democrat, independent in the nation we must step up. This is the United States of America. There’s never, ever, ever, ever, ever been a thing we’ve tried to do, when we’ve done it together, that we’ve not been able to do,” he said, “So, President Trump, step up.”
As Biden was speaking, Jon Ossoff was officially projected winner of the Senate contest in Georgia, a victory that ensures Democrats will control the U.S. Senate upon Biden’s inauguration in two weeks. Moments after Biden finished, President Trump posted his own recording to Twitter, in which he told his violent supporters to “go home,” adding, “we love you, you’re very special.”