(CN) — President-elect Joe Biden called Wednesday’s violent assault on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump a “God-awful” display and called on Trump to urge his supporters to evacuate the building.
“At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault,” Biden said in somber tones as he took the stage at his transition headquarters in the Queen theater in Wilmington, Delaware, Wednesday afternoon.
Biden had been scheduled to give a speech about the economy and perhaps answer questions about his cabinet and legislative priorities in light of the two Democratic Senate victories in Georgia. Instead, he used the time to address the attack on the Capitol building.
“The scenes of chaos unfolding at the Capitol do not reflect the true America,” Biden said. “What we are seeing is a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness.”
Trump initially sent a pair of tweets asking those involved in the assault to remain peaceful, but he notably did not ask his supporters to leave.
“I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfill his oath to defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege,” Biden said.
Moments later, Trump addressed his supporters in a recorded message and told them to go home.
“I know your pain, I know you’re hurt. We had an election stolen from us, it was a landslide election, and everyone knows it, especially the other side,” Trump said outside the White House. “But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order.”
Biden has resisted engaging directly with Trump regarding his increasingly esoteric conspiracy theories about Biden’s victory and Trump’s defeat. But he has continued to slam Trump both directly and indirectly during the transition process.
“We will prevail,” Biden said Wednesday. “We must focus on the restoration of democracy, decency, honor and respect for the rule of law.”
Biden said the country must return to “plain simple decency.”
“We should not be stoking the flames of hate and chaos at the expense of honor, decency, respect and tolerance,” he said.
Biden walked off the stage, ignoring questions shouted from the press. But he returned to the podium to utter the following afterword:
“I am not concerned about my safety, security or the inauguration. I’m not concerned. The American people are going to stand up, stand up now. Enough is enough is enough.”