President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday emotionally condemned the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol as a mob insurrection that “borders on sedition” and implored President Donald Trump to go on national television to “demand an end to this siege.”
“This is not dissent. It’s disorder. It’s chaos. It borders on sedition and it must end now,” Biden said during a brief address from Wilmington, Delaware. “I call on this mob to pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward.”
“The words of a president matter, no matter how good or bad that president,” the president-elect added. “At their best, the words of a president can inspire. At their worst, they can incite.”
Biden, staring into the camera, then addressed Trump directly.
“I call on President Trump to go on national television, now, to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege,” he said.
“To storm the capitol, to smash windows, to occupy offices, the floor of the United States Senate, rummaging through desks … threatening the safety of duly elected officials,” he added. “It’s not protests. It’s insurrection.”
Biden’s speech came amid scenes of utter chaos in and around the U.S. Capitol, as hundreds of pro-Trump protesters swarmed the building and at least one person was shot, forcing the Senate to evacuate and Vice President Mike Pence to be ushered to a secure location.
The frenzied scene after demonstrators broke through barricades forced Congress to evacuate parts of the building and abruptly pause a ceremonial event affirming that President-elect Joe Biden won the November election. In one dramatic moment, police officers drew guns as protesters tried to break into the House chamber.
Twitter and other social media channels were flooded with images of protesters skirmishing with police officers, and there were multiple reports of rioting inside the Capitol as some protesters broke windows, battered down doors and postured in the Senate chamber.
Biden, during his remarks, emotionally pleaded with rioters to stop their actions, saying that “our democracy is under unprecedented assault,” but added that it was being carried out by a “small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness.”
“The scenes of chaos do not reflect the true America, do not represent who we are,” he said.
Moments after Biden’s speech ended, Trump tweeted a one-minute video of himself, repeating debunked claims about the legitimacy of the 2020 election and telling rioters to leave.
“You have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt,” the president said.
Biden had originally been scheduled to speak about the economy, but those plans changed as the situation in and around the Capitol escalated.
Responding to questions shouted from reporters over whether he had concerns about his safety at the inauguration in two weeks, Biden said he was not.
“I am not concerned about my safety, security or the inauguration,” he said.
He added that “the American people will have to stand up, and stand up now.”
“Enough is enough is enough,” he said.