US President Donald Trump has posted an alarming statement urging people to “remember this day forever” after rioters stormed the US Capitol to protest the election result.
Trump, who continues to make baseless claims of election fraud, told people who flooded into the complex to go home before posting a tweet claiming electoral fraud led to the chaotic scenes.
“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously and viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly and unfairly treated for so long,” he said.
“Go home with love and in peace. Remember this day forever!”
Chaotic scenes unfolded in Washington DC as Congress moved to certify the Electoral College votes from the US election that secured Democrat Joe Biden the presidency.
Trump has repeatedly failed to concede defeat and continues to make baseless claims of electoral fraud.
In a video posted earlier on Twitter, Trump said the election had been “stolen” but told protesters to go home.
“We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace,” he said.
Twitter locks Trump’s account
The video was dubbed dangerous, with US Senator for Vermont Bernie Sanders claiming Trump was directly responsible for the chaos.
“[He] made it clear that he will do anything to remain in power – including insurrection and inciting violence,” he tweeted.
“Trump will go down in history as the worst and most dangerous president in history.”
Facebook removed Trump’s video from its platform, saying it was taking appropriate emergency measures.
“We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence,” Facebook’s vice president of integrity Guy Rosen tweeted.
Twitter followed Facebook’s lead and also deleted the video and locked Trump’s account for 12 hours.
Facebook and Instagram too announced it would block Trump from posting on the sites for 24 hours.
George W Bush ‘sickened’ by US Capitol riots
Former US president George W Bush said in a statement he was watching the mayhem unfold in “disbelief and dismay”.
“It is a sickening and heartbreaking sight,” he said.
“This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic – not our democratic republic.
“I am appalled by the reckless behaviour of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions, and our law enforcement.
“The violent assault on the Capitol – and disruption of a constitutionally-mandated meeting of Congress – was undertaken by people whose passions have been inflamed by falsehoods and false hopes.”
Bush added the insurrection could do “grave damage” to the US and urged people to allow officials elected by the people to fulfil their duties.
Biden condemns ‘insurrection’ at US Capitol
The President-elect said the riots, which saw one woman shot dead, must end now and called on Trump to appear on national television to fulfil his oath and defend the constitution while demanding an end to the siege.
“To storm the Capitol, to smash windows, to occupy offices, the floor of the US Senate, rummaging through desks on the House of Representatives, threatening the safety of dually elected officials – it is not a protest, it is insurrection,” he said.
Biden said he was genuinely shocked and saddened the nation could come to such a dark moment.
“Though war and strife, America has endured much and we will endure here and we will prevail again and we’ll prevail now,” he said.
“The work of the moment and the work of the next four years must be the restoration of democracy, of decency, honour, respect, the rule of law. Just plain, simple decency.”
Biden added the certification of the Electoral College vote was supposed to be a sacred ritual that instead had erupted into disarray.
“The world is watching,” he said.
“America is so much better than what we are seeing today.
“So, President Trump, step up.”
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