Biden says US democracy ‘under unprecedented assault’, tells Trump to ‘Step up’

US President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
US President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

US President-elect Joe Biden condemns the assault on the US Capitol and demands that President Trump “step up” and demand an end to the siege.

“All of you have been watching what I’ve been watching,” Biden begins. “At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault. Unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times — an assault on the citadel of liberty, on the Capitol itself,” he says in a televised address from Delaware. “An assault on the people’s representatives, on the Capitol Hill police sworn to protect them, on the public servants who work at the heart of our republic. An assault on the rule of law… an assault on the most sacred of American undertakings, the doing of the people’s business.”

US President-elect Joe Biden speaks at the Queen Theater on January 6, 2021, in Wilmington, Delaware, urging President Donald Trump to “step up” and stop the assault on the Capitol. (JIM WATSON / AFP)

He calls the Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol “a small number of extremists” and says their behavior “borders on sedition and it must end now. I call on this mob to pull back and let the work of democracy go forward,” Biden says.

He says the words of a president at their best “can inspire” and at their worst “can incite. Therefore 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.

“To storm the capital, to smash windows, to occupy offices,” Biden continues, “it’s not a protest. It’s insurrection. The world’s watching. Like so many other Americans, I am genuinely shocked and sad that our nation, so long a beacon of light and hope for democracy, has come to such a dark moment.

“Through war and strife, America has endured much. And we will endure here and we will prevail again and we’ll prevail now. The work of the moment and the work of the next four years must be the restoration of democracy, of decency, honor respect, the rule of law — just plain, simple decency… not stoking the flames of hate and chaos.”

He says America is “about honor, decency, respect, tolerance — that’s who we are. That’s who we’ve always been.

“The certification of the electoral college vote is supposed to be a sacred ritual … to affirm the majesty of American democracy. But today is a reminder, a painful one, that democracy is fragile, and to preserve it requires people of goodwill, leaders with the courage to stand up, and devoted not to the pursuit of power, or pursuits of their own selfish interests at any cost, but of the common good. Think of what our children watching television are thinking. Think what the rest of the world is looking at.”

He cites Abraham Lincoln, whose work he says has been interrupted today, quoting “the way is plain”: “The way is plain here too… It’s the way of democracy, of respect, decency, of honor, and commitment as patriots to this nation.”

He says despite today’s scenes he remains optimistic. “There’s never been anything we can’t do, when we do it together. This god awful display today is bringing home to every Republican and Democrat and Independent in the nation that we must step up. This is the United States of America…

“So President Trump, step up,” he demands.

“May God bless America. May God protect our troops, and all those folks at the Capitol, in trying to preserve order.”