WILMINGTON, Del. - President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday called for the restoration of "just simple decency" and called on President Donald Trump to demand an end to the "siege" underway at the U.S. Capitol building, where Trump supporters clashed with police and stormed the building.
One person was reported to have been shot, while several officers were injured.
"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, it can incite," Biden said from his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware.
"Therefore, I call on President Trump, go on national television now to fulfill his oath to defend the constitution and demand an end to this siege," he said.
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Biden had planned to deliver a speech focused on how to revive an economy and provide financial relief for small business owners reeling from the coronavirus pandemic from his native Delaware.
But shortly before he was to begin speaking, Trump supporters broke into the capital, reaching as far as the House floor. The building was locked down and police with guns drawn moved in as Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers were evacuated to secure locations.
National Guard troops were deployed and a citywide curfew was implemented for shortly after dusk, as rioters continued to occupy the Capitol for hours.
"At this hour our democracy is under unprecedented assault unlike anything we've seen in modern times," Biden said, adding that what unfolded was, "an assault on the rule of law like few times we have ever seen it."
He said the uprising bordered on sedition, adding, "The scenes of chaos at the capitol do not reflect a true America, do not represent who we are."
Under growing pressure from allies to condemn the violence, Trump released a video on Twitter asking protesters to leave the Capitol. But he called the protesters "very special," saying "we love you," and continued to repeat false claims of widespread voter fraud to explain his loss.
Trump had appeared earlier at a rally and had urged his supporters to march to the Capitol — at one point even suggesting he would join them.
At one point during the unrest, Trump tweeted, "No violence!" adding: "Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue." But the commander in chief did not initially ask supporters to vacate the area.
Congress met in a joint session earlier Wednesday to confirm Biden’s Electoral College win over Trump, but the session was abruptly halted due to the protesters. Senators were evacuated, while some House lawmakers tweeted they were sheltering in place in their offices.
One person was shot and taken to a local hospital, according to FOX 5 DC and the Associated Press, citing sources.
Biden's speech was delayed by more than an hour as the president-elect and aides tore up his scheduled remarks and worked to craft a new statement addressing the scene in the nation's capital.
There didn't appear to be additional security around Biden, but, as the president-elect huddled backstage, agents on his U.S. Secret Service detail stood in their places in front of a stage at a theater in downtown Wilmington, with featured four American flags, for more than hour.
This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.