President-elect Joe Biden denounces the riots on Capitol Hill on Wednesday at an event introducing Merrick Garland as his nominee for Attorney General.
PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN: I know you’re all going to have a lot of questions, but I want to focus on the issue today, the judiciary as well as we are talking about the attorney general’s office and so I will have plenty of time to ask the questions I know you desperately want to ask about everything from the 25th amendment on but I’m not going to speak to that today. I want this to be the issue that we focus on because I think it is so important. Yesterday in my view one of the darkest days in the history of our nation, an unprecedented assault on our democracy, an assault literally on the citadel of liberty and the United States Capitol itself, an assault on the rule of law, an assault on the most sacred of American undertakings ratifying the will of the people and choosing the leadership of their government. All of us here grieve the loss of life, grieve the desecration of the people’s house but we–what we witnessed yesterday was not dissent, it was not disorder, it was not protest, it was chaos. They weren’t protesters, don’t dare call them protesters. They were a riotous mob, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists. It is that basic, it is that simple and I wish we could say we couldn’t see it coming but that isn’t true. We could see it coming. The past four years we have had a president who has made his contempt for our democracy, our Constitution, the rule of law clear in everything he has done. He unleashed an all-out assault on our institutions of our democracy from the outset and yesterday was but the culmination of that unrelenting attack. He has attacked the free press who dared to question his power, repeatedly calling the Free Press the enemy of the people, language at the time he first used it I and others said has long been used by autocrats and dictators all over the world to hold on to power. The enemy of the people. Language that is being used now by autocrats and dictators across the world only this time with the imperator(SP) of an outgoing president of the United States of America. He has attacked our intelligence services who dared tell the American people the truth about the effort of a foreign power to elect him four years ago choosing instead to believe the word of Vladimir Putin over the word of those who have sworn their allegiance to this nation, many of whom had risk their lives in the service of this nation. He deployed the United States military tear-gassing peaceful protesters in pursuit of a photo opportunity in the service of his reelection even holding the Bible upside down, the action that led to an apology from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and an outspoken denunciation of the use of military for domestic political purposes from scores, scores of former military leaders and Secretaries of Defense led by Secretary Cheney. He thought he could stack the courts with friendly judges who would support him no matter what. They were Trump judges, his judges. He went so far as to say he needed nine justices on the Supreme Court because–because he thought the election would end up in the Supreme Court and they would hand him the election. He was stunned, truly stunned when the judges he appointed didn’t do his bidding, instead acted with integrity following the Constitution, upholding the rule of law not just once or twice or three times but over 60 times. Let me say that, over 60 times. In more than 60 cases in state after state after state and then at the Supreme Court judges including people considered quote his judges, Trump judges to use his words looked at the allegations that Trump was making and determined they were without any merit. Nothing was judged to put this election in question or doubt by any of these judges. You want to understand the importance of democratic institutions in this country take a look at the judiciary in this nation. Take a look at the pressure it was just subjected to by a sitting president of the United States of America. At every level, the judiciary rose in the moment during this election, did its job, acted with complete fairness and impartiality with complete honor and integrity. When history looks back on this moment that we have just passed through I believe we will say our democracy survived in no small part because of the men and women who represent an independent judiciary in this nation. We owe them a deep, deep debt of gratitude. And then there’s the attack on the Department of Justice treating the attorney general as his personal lawyer and the department as his personal law firm. Through it all, we would hear the same thing from this president, my generals, my judges, my attorney general. And then yesterday a culmination of attack on our institutions of democracy. This time the Congress itself inciting a mob to attack the Capitol to threaten elected representatives of the people of this nation and even the vice president to stop the Congress from ratifying the will of the American people in a just-completed free and fair election. Trying to use a mob to silence the voices of nearly 160 million Americans who summoned the courage in the face of a pandemic that threatened their health and their lives to cast that sacred ballot. I made it clear from the moment I entered this race that what I believe what was at stake. I said there was nothing less at stake than who we are as a nation, what we stand for, what we believe, what we will be. At the center of that belief is one of the oldest principles this nation has long held where our government of laws not of men, not of the people, of laws. I said it many times in the campaign our dem–our democratic institution is not relics of another age, what sets this nation apart, they are the guardrails of our democracy, and there is no president, that is why there is no president who is a king, no Congress that’s a House of Lords, a judiciary doesn’t serve the will of the president or exist to protect him or her. We have three coequal branches of government coequal. Our president is not above the law. Justice serves the people; it doesn’t protect the powerful. Justice is blind. What we saw yesterday in plain view was another violation of fundamental tenet of this nation, not only did we see the failure to protect one of the three branches of our government, we also saw a clear failure to carry out equal justice.