Pressure is mounting on President Donald Trump to condemn supporters who have occupied sections of the Capitol after violently clashing with law enforcement on Capitol Hill and breaching the complex.
NBC said it had confirmed that one person had been shot inside the complex.
‘It’s not protest,’ says President-elect Biden. ‘It’s insurrection.’
Calling on Trump to “step up” and put an end to “this siege,” Biden said he was shocked and saddened by the “god-awful display.”
Among those urging Trump to act: his former communications director, Alyssa Farah, who tweeted that Trump should “[c]ondemn this now.”
She said, “You are the only one they will listen to. For our country!”
Dozens of people have breached security perimeters at the Capitol, forcing the lockdown of the building and halting the vote to certify Biden’s presidential victory.
Trump has so far offered a tweet asking his supporters to “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!” That was followed by another a half-hour later that sought to remind his supporters that they perceive themselves as belonging to “the party of law and order.”
Some time later, as Biden was delivering his remarks on live television, Trump put out a video via Twitter calling on supporters to go home but continuing to assert that he and they were being victimized by the election process. “Go home. We love you. You’re very special,” he said, continuing: “You’ve seen what happens — you see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. We know how you feel.”
After the initial tweet from Trump, his former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney tweeted: “The President’s tweet is not enough. He can stop this now and needs to do exactly that. Tell these folks to go home.”
His lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, also addressed Trump supporters in a tweet, calling them the “patriots challenging the fraudulent election” and telling them that ”POTUS wants you to EXPRESS YOUR OPINION PEACEFULLY.”
After earlier reports that the Defense Department, having undergone a post-election change in leadership , was denying requested deployment of National Guard troops to quell the chaos at the Capitol, the White House said late in the afternoon that the Guard was on the way.
Shortly thereafter the Department of Homeland Security said it was sending agents to the scene.
The absence of military-style defenses, many observers noted, was in sharp contrast to the situation last summer when peaceful protesters were violently cleared near the White House and various agencies put on a show of militarized force that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff later apologized for having participated in.
From the archives (June 2020): How June afternoon in Lafayette Square could join Charlottesville and Helsinki as moments that define the Trump legacy