Jan 6, 2021
Joe Biden Speech Condemning Capitol Protest Transcript
President-elect Joe Biden gave a public address condemning the violent protests at the Capitol on January 6. He urged Donald Trump to “demand an end to this siege.” Read the transcript of the speech here.
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Joe Biden: (00:00)
Are Sorry. Not just an inconvenience, but I’m sorry for the reason we’ve delayed, I’ve delayed coming out to speak to you. I initially was going to talk about the economy, but all of you, all of you have you 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 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 sacred of American undertakings, the doing of the people’s business.
Joe Biden: (01:22)
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 the dissent. It’s disorder. It’s chaos. It borders on sedition, and it must end now. I call this mob to pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward. You’ve heard me say before in different contexts, 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, they can insight.
Joe Biden: (02:27)
Therefore, I call on President Trump to go on national television now, to fulfill his oath and defend the constitution and demand an end to this siege. They 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’s watching. Like so many other Americans, I am genuinely shocked and saddened that our nation, so long, the beacon of light and hope for 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, and we’ll prevail now. The work of the moment and the work of the next four years must be the restoration of democracy, of decency, honor, respect the Rule of Law, just plain, simple decency, the renewal of a politics.
Joe Biden: (03:59)
It’s about solving problems, looking out for one another, not stoking the flames of hate and chaos. As I said, America is about honor, decency, respect, tolerance. That’s who we are. That’s who we’ve always been. The certification of the Electoral College vote, it’s supposed to be a sacred ritual, which we affirm, it’s purpose is to affirm the majesty of American democracy. But today’s reminder, a painful one, that democracy is fragile and to preserve it, requires people of goodwill, leaders who have the courage to stand up, who are devoted, not to the pursuit of power or their personal interests, pursuits of their own selfish interest at any cost, but at the common good. Think what, our children watching television is thinking. Think what the rest of the world is looking at. For nearly two and a half centuries, we, the people, in search of a more perfect union, have kept our eyes on that common good. America is so much better than what we’ve seen today.
Joe Biden: (05:28)
Watching the scenes from the Capitol, I was reminded as I prepared other speeches in the past, I was reminded of the words of Abraham Lincoln in his Annual Message to Congress, whose work has today been interrupted by chaos. Here’s what Lincoln said. He said, “He shall 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 playing here too. That should we are. It’s the way of democracy, of respect, of decency, of honor and commitment as patriots to this nation. Not withstanding what I saw today, we’re seeing today, I remain optimistic about the incredible opportunities. There’s never been anything we can’t do, when we do it together. This God-awful display today, is bringing it home to every Republican and Democrat and Independent in the nation, that we must step up.
Joe Biden: (07:07)
This is the United States of America. There’s never, ever, ever, ever, ever been a thing we’ve tried to do, that we’ve done it together, we’ve not been able to do it. So, President Trump, step up. May God bless America and may God protect our troops and all those folks at the Capitol who are trying to preserve order. Thank you, and I’m sorry to have kept you waiting.
Speaker 2: (07:40)
Mr. President Elect [inaudible 00:07:43].
Speaker 4: (07:40)
… what we’ve seen today.
Speaker 3: (07:44)
Are you concerned about your inauguration, Sir?
Speaker 5: (07:47)
Have you spoken to McConnell today?
Speaker 3: (07:50)
Are you concerned about your inauguration, Sir?