US Election: Joe Biden's full speech after the chaos at the US Capitol

  • 07/01/2021

President-elect Joe Biden of the United States' full speech amid the protests in Washington DC.

"I was initially going to talk about the economy, but all of you have been watching what I've been watching. At this hour our democracy is under unprecedented assault, unlike anything we've seen in modern times. An assault on the citadel of liberty.

"The capitol itself. An assault on the people's representatives and the Capitol Hill police sworn to protect them and the public servants who work at the heart of our republic. An assault on the rule of law like few times we've ever seen it. An assault on the most American of undertakings - the doing of the people's business.

"Let me be very clear - the scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America, do not represent who we are. What we're seeing are a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness. This is not dissent - it's disorder, it's 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 heard me say before in a different context - the words of a President matter. No matter how good or bad that President is. At their best, the word of a President can inspire. At their worst, they can incite.  I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfil his oath and defend the constitution and demand an end to this seige.

"To storm the Capitol, to smash windows, to occupy offices, the floor of the United States Senate, rummaging through desks, on the Capitol, on the House of Representatives, threatening the safety of duly elected officials - it's not protest, it's insurrection. The world is watching, and like so many other Americans I am genuinely shocked and saddened that our nation - so long the beacon of light and hope of democracy - has come to such a dark moment. 

"Through war and strife, America's endured much - and we will endure here and we will prevail again. We will prevail now. 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. The renewal of politics that's about solving problems and looking after one another, not stoking the flames of hate and chaos. America is about honour, decency, respect, tolerance. THat's who we are. That's who we've always been.

"The certification of the Electoral College vote is supposed to be a sacred ritual to affirm the purposes, to affirm the majesty of American democracy. But today's a reminder - a painful one - that democracy is fragile. To preserve it, requires people of goodwill, leaders with the courage to stand up, who are devoted not to the pursuit of power - their personal interest, pursuits of their own selfish interests at any cost - but the common good.

"Think what our children watching television are thinking. Think what the rest of the world is looking at. For nearly two-and-a-half centuries we the people, in the search of a more perfect union, have kept our eyes on that common good. America's so much better than what we've seen today. Watching the scenes from the Capitol I was reminded... of the words of Abraham Lincoln in his annual message to Congress, whose work today has been interrupted by chaos. Lincoln said we should nobly save, or merely lose, the last, best hope on Earth. He went on to say the way is plain, peaceful, generous, just - a way which if followed, the world will forever applaud and God must forever bless. The way is plain here too - it's who we are. It's the way of democracy, of respect, of decency, of honour and commitment as patriots to this nation. 

"Not withstanding 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. 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. There's never, ever, ever, ever been a thing we've tried to do that if we've done together, we've not been able to do it. So President Trump, step up."