Biden blasts Trump for unleashing 'all-out assault' on democracy
One day after a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, President-elect Joe Biden admonished President Donald Trump for unleashing an “all-out assault” on the country’s democracy for the last four years, calling Wednesday the “the culmination of that unrelenting attack.”
“Don’t dare call them protesters,” Biden said of those who besieged the Capitol. “They were rioters, a mob, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists."
“It’s that basic and that simple. And I wish we could say we couldn’t see it coming. But that isn’t true. We could.”
The president-elect also formally announced his intent to nominate D.C. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland as attorney general on Thursday. Biden said Garland would be the “people’s lawyer” if confirmed – a stark contrast to how Trump viewed the Cabinet position.
On Wednesday afternoon, Congress met in a joint session to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. It quickly transformed into a violent scene and one of the darkest days in the country’s history.
The siege of the Capitol by the mob of thousands of Trump supporters resulted in the deaths of four people, including one woman who was fatally shot. These intruders rifled through Capitol offices, smashed windows and took photos of themselves at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk. A man carrying a Confederate flag roamed the halls.
It resulted in members of Congress, their staff and reporters going into lockdown, hiding behind barricaded doors and under chairs.
Delaware's congressional delegation, U.S. Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons and U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, have called for the president to be removed from office.
A Biden spokesman said the president-elect and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will defer to Vice President Mike Pence, the Cabinet and Congress to "act as they see fit."
For months, Trump has made false claims about the election, fueling many of his supporters to become angry and violent. Congress returned to the Capitol late Wednesday night to resume the certification process, affirming Biden's victory on early Thursday morning. Dozens of members of Congress still objected to the results of the election.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement early Thursday morning.
Facebook announced Trump’s account would be suspended until the end of his term, while the president’s Twitter account has been temporarily suspended.
Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday afternoon added to the growing calls by Democrats to invoke the 25th Amendment, which would remove Trump from office.
"If the vice president and Cabinet do not act [through the amendment], the Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment,” Pelosi said at a press conference.
In Wilmington, Biden – who did not take questions from reporters – noted the unequal treatment of the pro-Trump rioters compared with peaceful protesters calling for racial justice. He said his granddaughter Finnegan texted him a photo of troops in military gear standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the Black Lives Matter protests.
On Wednesday, D.C. and Capitol Police did not stop rioters from bursting into the Capitol building.
“You can’t tell me,” Biden said, “that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they wouldn’t have been treated very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol.”
“We all know that is true,” he continued, “And it is totally unacceptable. Totally unacceptable. The American people saw it in plain view.”
When introducing Garland – who had been nominated in 2016 for the Supreme Court by President Barack Obama but was blocked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell –Biden vowed to bring independence back to the Justice Department.
Biden also nominated Lisa Monaco for deputy attorney general, Vanita Gupta for associate attorney general and Kristen Clarke for assistant attorney general for the department’s civil rights division.
“I want to be clear to those who lead this department who you will serve: You won’t work for me. You are not the president or the vice president’s lawyer,” Biden said. “Your loyalty is not to me. It is to the law, the Constitution, the people of this nation to guarantee justice.”
All four of the nominees touted their decades of experience within the Justice Department – and how they will work independently of the White House.
“The rule of law is not just some lawyers' turn of phrase,” Garland said. “It is the very foundation of our democracy.”
Contact Meredith Newman at (302) 324-2386 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @MereNewman.