Obama says Trump 'incited' Capitol siege with baseless lies about the election and encourages Republican lawmakers to 'choose America'
- Former President Barack Obama on Wednesday said that President Donald Trump's relentless lies on the 2020 election incited violent, disturbing events at the US Capitol.
- "History will rightly remember today's violence at the Capitol, incited by a sitting president who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election, as a moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation," Obama said.
- The former president called on Republicans to cease their support for Trump's effort to overturn the 2020 election result and "choose America."
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Former President Barack Obama explicitly blamed President Donald Trump for the violent scenes at the US Capitol on Wednesday, while urging Republicans to step up and take a stand against the sitting president's attacks on democracy.
"History will rightly remember today's violence at the Capitol, incited by a sitting president who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election, as a moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation," Obama said in a statement. "But we'd be kidding ourselves if we treated it as a total surprise."
The former president said that the GOP and its "accompanying media ecosystem has too often been unwilling to tell their followers the truth — that this was not a particularly close election and that President-Elect Biden will be inaugurated on January 20." He went on to say that Republicans have been pushing a "fantasy narrative" on the election that has spiraled further and further from reality.
Obama said that Republican leaders now face a choice "made clear in the desecrated chambers of democracy."
"They can continue down this road and keep stoking the raging fires. Or they can choose reality and take the first steps toward extinguishing the flames. They can choose America," the former president said.
With roughly two weeks left in what has been among the most chaotic presidencies in US history, Trump has still not conceded to President-elect Joe Biden. Trump continues to push the baseless notion he lost the election due to mass voter fraud as part of a futile effort to overturn the result.
Prior to the violence at the Capitol on Wednesday, Trump delivered a speech outside of the White House in which he reiterated his lies on the election, falsely telling his supporters that Biden will be an "illegitimate" president.
The president's speech was filled with falsehoods and conspiracy theories, and he capped it off by urging his supporters to march to the Capitol.
"We're going to walk down to the Capitol. And we're going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them," Trump said to his supporters.
"Because you'll never take back our country with weakness," Trump added. "You have to show strength, and you have to be strong."
Subsequently, a pro-Trump mob descended upon the Capitol, forcing congressional lawmakers to evacuate and delaying the certification of the Electoral College vote — the final constitutionally-mandated step to solidify Biden's win. A woman was shot and killed amid the violent mayhem. Wednesday's events amounted to an attempted coup by Trump supporters and led to bipartisan condemnation.
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