‘It’s not a protest. It’s insurrection’: Biden speaks on discord in Washington

WILMINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden called on demonstrators who stormed and entered the U.S. Capitol, halting the certification of Mr. Biden’s victory, to “pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward.”

“I’m genuinely shocked and saddened that our nation, so long the beacon of light and hope for democracy, has come to such a dark moment,” he said from Wilmington. 

Mr. Biden was anticipated to speak on the economy Wednesday, but his remarks instead came as discord emerged in Washington after protesters swarmed the U.S. Capitol.

“The words of a president matter, no matter how good or bad that president is,” he said. “At their best, the words of a president can inspire. At the worst, they can incite.”

He urged President Donald Trump — who held a rally earlier in the day telling his supporters who traveled to D.C. they would “never give up” — to “step up.”

“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,” he said. “It’s not a protest. It’s insurrection. The world’s watching.”

Congress was forced to halt deliberations Wednesday over Republican challenges to Mr. Biden’s presidential victory.

Lawmakers had convened for a joint session to confirm the Electoral College results, but protests erupted outside the Capitol and government office buildings were evacuated. 

As the confirmation was underway, Mr. Trump held a rally in the city, urging supporters to march to the Capitol. 

Tensions escalated when protesters made it into the Senate chamber. Lawmakers were evacuated. 

The Pentagon says about 1,100 D.C. National Guard members are being mobilized to help support law enforcement as violent supporters of Mr. Trump breached the U.S. Capitol.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.