America’s president-elect has condemned Donald Trump’s behaviour and called those who stormed the US Capitol “domestic terrorists”.
Joe Biden said Wednesday’s astonishing scenes were an “assault on our liberty”.
Of the demonstrators, he said: “Don’t dare call them protesters – they were a riotous mob, insurrectionists.”
Turning his attention to Donald Trump, he said the president had “unleashed an all-out assault on our institutions of democracy – and yesterday was the culmination”, adding that US presidents are not above the law.
Mr Biden, who will be inaugurated on 20 January, said it had been one of the darkest days in US history, and a result of Mr Trump’s “unrelenting attack on democracy”.
Black Lives Matter protesters would have been treated differently if they had gathered at the Capitol, the president-elect said.
Speaking shortly afterwards, House speaker Nancy Pelosi said Donald Trump had “incited an armed insurrection against America”.
He had called for a “seditious act” and was “deadly” to Americans and US democracy, committing an “unspeakable assault on our nation and our people”, Ms Pelosi said.
The scenes witnessed on Wednesday, which she described as a “gleeful desecration”, were “horrors that will forever stain our nation’s history, instigated by the president of the United States”.
Ms Pelosi described those who forced their way into the US Capitol as “terrorists”.
While praising officers who “acted so bravely and with such concern”, she said there had been “a failure at the top of the Capitol Police”.
One of the protesters entered her office and put his feet up on her desk. Other members’ offices were ransacked, and threatening messages were left.
Ms Pelosi called for Mr Trump to be removed from office immediately, and said the Democrats were pushing for his impeachment.
The veteran Democratic politician said she was expecting a quick decision from Vice President Mike Pence about whether to invoke the 25th amendment in seeking to remove Mr Trump from office.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer echoed her sentiments.
The fourth section of the amendment – which has never been invoked – lays out what happens if the president becomes unable to discharge his duties but does not transfer power.
It states that the vice president and the majority of the cabinet would have to declare the president unfit to lead.
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