President-elect Joe Biden has said that the democracy in America was under an "unprecedented assault" as thousands of supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol in an unprecedented breach of security resulting in temporary suspension of the US Congress' counting and certification of presidential election results.
"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, Biden said on Wednesday.
In a nationally televised address, Biden said that 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, he said.
The police, outnumbered by the protesters, had a tough time in managing the crowd on Wednesday, as hundreds of protesters breached security and entered the Capitol building, where members of the Congress were going through the process of counting and certifying the Electoral College votes.
Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers were evacuated to safe locations. Both the House and Senate and the entire Capitol were placed under a lockdown.
Calling on the mob to pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward, Biden said that 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, he said, calling 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," Biden said.
"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," he said.
"America is about honour, 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," he said.
Biden said that 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.
Watching the scenes from the Capitol, the president-elect said he 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'," Biden recalled.
"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," Biden said.