Calling it a “moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation,” former President Barack Obama called on Republican lawmakers to speak out against President Donald Trump after a group of his supporters stormed the United States Capitol on Wednesday, sending members of Congress and their staffs fleeing for cover.
The former president issued a statement on Wednesday, saying that the actions of the rioters are the “consequences” of the rhetoric used by Trump in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, and said that Republicans and Democrats must work together to “restore a common purpose to our politics.”
Here is the former president’s full remarks:
“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. But we’d be kidding ourselves if we treated it as a total surprise.
“For two months now, a political party 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 Jan. 20. Their fantasy narrative has spiraled further and further from reality, and it builds upon years of sown resentments. Now we’re seeing the consequences, whipped up into a violent crescendo.
“Right now, Republican leaders have a choice made clear in the desecrated chambers of democracy. They can continue down this road and keep stoking the rage fires, or they can choose reality and take the first steps toward extinguishing the flames. They can choose America.
“I’ve been heartened to see so many members of the president’s party speak up forcefully today. Their voices add to the examples of Republican state and local officials in states like Georgia who’ve refused to be intimidated and have discharged their duties honorably. We need more leaders like these – right now and in the days, weeks and months ahead as President-elect Biden works to restore a common purpose to our politics. It’s up to all of us as Americans, regardless of party, to support him in that goal.”