US President-elect Joe Biden sternly denounced ”extremist” Trump supporters that stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday, telling rioters to return home to “allow the work of democracy to go forward.”
The Capitol was overrun earlier in the day as lawmakers were set to convene a joint session of Congress that is traditionally a mundane affair of Electoral College vote counting.
Instead, chaotic scenes of thousands of rioters clashing with police outside of the federal legislature gave way to even more pandemonium as the mob overwhelmed law enforcement, breached the Capitol’s doors and windows and eventually made their way to the Senate floor.
Biden said the riot was “an assault on the most sacred of American undertakings.”
“At this hour our democracy is under unprecedented assault, unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times; an assault on the citadel of liberty: the Capitol itself; an assault on the people’s representatives and the Capitol Hill police,” Biden said in nationally televised remarks in which he urged Trump to go on television to tell his supporters to leave the Capitol.
“Let me be very clear, the scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America, do not represent who we are. What we are seeing is a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness. This is not dissent. Its disorder. Its chaos. It borders on sedition, and it must end now,” he added.
Security was seen on photos posted to social media drawing pistols as rioters attempted to breach the House chamber where the voting counting was to take place.
At least one woman was shot amid the ongoing pandemonium, according to video footage aired on television. It is unclear who fired the shot. She is in critical condition, per reports.
Multiple police officers have also been injured, according to reports.
The grim scenes are an unprecedented stain on the US’s peaceful transfer of power.
Trump and his political allies have for months alleged that the election he lost to Biden by 7 million votes was rigged, stirring emotions among his supporters with conspiracy theories that have been repeatedly rejected in court. The Justice Department also found no evidence to support his claims of widespread voter fraud.
Shortly after Biden went on national television Trump posted a video message on Twitter, maintain his false allegations while calling on his supporters “to go home now.”
“We have to have peace. We have to have law and order, and we have to respect our great people and law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt,” said Trump.
Trump’s tweet was quickly flagged by Twitter, with a warning label stating that “This claim of election fraud is disputed, and this Tweet cannot be replied to, Retweeted, or liked due to a risk of violence.”
The White House said the National Guard “is on the way” to the scene “along with other federal protective services” at Trump’s direction.
Washington, D.C. residents received emergency phone calls Wednesday warning them that Mayor Muriel Bowser has enacted a citywide curfew beginning at 6 p.m.
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