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Biden: Democracy 'Under Unprecedented Assault' As Pro-Trump Extremists Occupy Capitol

President-elect Joe Biden at New Castle Airport in New Castle, Del., last month.
President-elect Joe Biden at New Castle Airport in New Castle, Del., last month.

Updated at 4:22 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden called the violent protests that engulfed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday an "assault on the most sacred of American undertakings: the doing of the people's business" and called on President Trump to immediately demand that his supporters stop the violence.

In a somber address, Biden called on Trump, who had not publicly spoken since a rally earlier Wednesday, to "go on national television now to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege."

Shortly thereafter, Trump released a prerecorded videourging protesters to go home.

The president-elect spoke hours after a mob of extremists loyal to Trump stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, bringing to a halt Congress' counting of the electoral votes to confirm Biden's election victory. Police evacuated some lawmakers from the building in a chaotic scene that shook the very foundation of American democracy.

Biden said that the words of a president matter. At their best, he said, they can inspire. But at their worst, he added, they can incite.

The president-elect described the conduct of the pro-Trump extremists on Wednesday as an "insurrection" and said the behavior "borders on sedition."

Watch Biden's remarks here.

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Scott Detrow is a White House correspondent for NPR and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast.
Juana Summers is a political reporter for NPR covering demographics and culture. She has covered politics since 2010 for publications including Politico, CNN and The Associated Press. She got her start in public radio at KBIA in Columbia, Mo., and also previously covered Congress for NPR.