Following today’s horrifying and entirely predictable terrorist attack on the United States Capitol, President-elect Joe Biden and Washington State Governor Jay Inslee each spoke out in the strongest possible terms against the violence and called for the insurrection to be put down as swiftly as possible.
Here’s what they each had to say.
President-elect Joe Biden
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
At this hour, our democracy is under an unprecedented assault.
An assault on the Capitol itself.
An assault on the people’s representatives, on the police officers sworn to protect them, and 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.
Let me be very clear: The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect the true America.
This is not who we are.
What we are seeing is a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness.
This is not dissent. It is disorder. It is chaos. It borders on sedition.
And it must end. Now.
I call on this mob to pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward.
You’ve heard me say this in different contexts: the words of a President matter, no matter how good or bad that president is.
At their best, the words of a president can inspire.
At their worst, they 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 Capitol, to smash windows, to occupy offices, and to threaten the safety of duly elected officials is not protest.
It is insurrection.
The world is watching — and like so many other Americans, I am shocked and saddened that our nation, so long a beacon of light, hope, and democracy has come to such a dark moment.
Through war and strife, America has endured much. And we will endure here and prevail now.
The work of the moment and the work of the next four years must be the restoration of democracy and the recovery of respect for the rule of law, and the renewal of a politics that’s about solving problems — not stoking the flames of hate and chaos.
America is about honor, decency, respect, and tolerance.
That’s who we are. That’s who we’ve always been.
The certification of the Electoral College votes is supposed to be a sacred ritual in which we affirm the majesty of American democracy.
Today is a reminder, a painful one, that democracy is fragile.
To preserve it requires people of good will, leaders with the courage to stand up, who are devoted not to pursuit of power and personal interest at any cost, but to the common good.
Think of what our children who are watching are thinking. Think of what the rest of the world is looking at.
For nearly two and a half centuries, we the people, in search of a more perfect union, have kept our eyes on that common good.
America is so much better than what we’re seeing today.
Watching the scenes from the Capitol, I was reminded of Abraham Lincoln’s words in an annual message to the Congress whose work has today been interrupted by chaos.
President Lincoln said: “We shall nobly save or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth….The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just — a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.”
Our way is plain here, too. It is the way of democracy, of lawfulness, and of honor — respect for each other, and for our nation.
Notwithstanding what we’ve seen today, I remain optimistic about the incredible opportunities.
There has never been anything we can’t do when we do it together. And this God-awful display today is bringing home to every Republican, Democrat, and Independent in the nation that we must step up.
This is the United States of America.
President Trump, step up.
May God Bless America.
May God protect our troops and everyone at the Capitol who is trying to protect the order.
Governor Jay Inslee
First, I just want to say that Trudi and I are at the residence tonight and we’re doing just fine. Thank you to all those who expressed concern, but we are doing quite well. Thank you.
Today has been a very tumultuous day for Americans and Washingtonians, for obvious reasons.
On a day in our nation’s capital, where we were to effectuate the most important act of our democracy — the peaceful transfer of power — was forcefully interrupted by those who refuse to accept verdicts of the people, the courts and the truth itself.
Here in our capital on a day that was to be dedicated to preparing for the opening day of our legislative session, so that we could address our challenges, including the pandemic, that work was forcefully interrupted by similar acts of attempted intimidation.
But I have good news to share with my fellow Washingtonians.
Those acts of intimidation will not succeed in any way shape or form. We will continue the work we are doing to protect the health of Washingtonians. In D.C., Congress will follow the will of the American people and take yet another step on the long march to protecting people’s right to self-government that has so far succeeded through centuries of frequent tension in our politics.
I know we are going through a moment of great turmoil. Passions are high, in part because we have suffered serial and constant untruths being told to citizens from the highest office of the land. I am confident we will overcome this, as we have in the past, and we will restore the ability to perpetuate self-governance.
I am confident that our work here in the state’s capital will be similarly productive beginning next week when the legislators, Republicans and Democrats, meet to try to fashion joint resolutions to our challenges.
I revile these acts of sedition and intimidation that we have seen in our country today. I call on all elected leaders to condemn this. I especially encourage the Republican Party to do some soul searching. It’s time to stop pandering to falsehoods.
This is about more than one failed presidency: Everyone has a role to play in getting disinformation out of our civic discourse.
Together, that spirit will lead to successful efforts here in our state’s capital and in our nation’s capital.
I would like to thank our brave members of the State Patrol for what they had to deal with today and for their role in protecting democracy. I’ve also been made aware that journalists were threatened with violence on the Capitol campus today, and I want to thank them for their persistence in covering today’s events and giving people the objective truth of what has happened.
I want to express a personal sentiment that I felt today, and I think that many feel, and that is a sense of outrage and frankly anger at the sight of people seizing the citadel of democracy, showing oafish behavior in the chamber of the U.S. Senate, where so many Republican and Democratic leaders have participated in great debates. Today was no debate of ideas, it was juvenile and dangerous intimidation.
I know that we have to find a way to work together to the benefit of all our citizens, Republicans and Democrats alike. And I think it would do us well to harken back to what President Abraham Lincoln said during another time of national tension.
He said this: ‘Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.’
In this day of great assaults on democracy, let us all seek that higher plane which calls us to seek common ground even in the face of outrageous conduct. This is a most difficult task, but we are all called to it tonight.
Be well. We’re going to get through this. Thank you, and goodnight.
We thank Governor Inslee and President-elect Biden for their leadership in these extremely difficult and disturbing circumstances.