EU reacts to pro-trump mob’s storming of US Capitol

MEPs lay blame for violent overnight scenes in Washington at President Donald Trump’s feet.
Photo credit: PA images

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

07 Jan 2021

European Parliament president David Sassoli says he was “deeply disturbed” after supporters of Donald Trump stormed the US Congress overnight.

Four people died and there were 52 arrests after the unprecedented attack which was seen as an attempt to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory.

Scores of protestors overwhelmed police, destroyed the equipment of TV teams and threatened reporters.

Leading a chorus of criticism, Sassoli sent a message to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi which reads, “My thoughts are very much for the safety of you and your fellow colleagues.”

The Italian member added, “I hope that order can be swiftly restored and that a peaceful transfer of power can take place, in line with the wishes of the American people.”

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said, “I believe in the strength of US institutions and democracy. Peaceful transition of power is at the core. Joe Biden won the election. I look forward to working with him as the next President of the USA.”

Her Council counterpart Charles Michel said the US Congress was “a temple of democracy” and said “We trust the US to ensure a peaceful transfer of power” to Joe Biden.

”The outrageous scenes overnight in Washington show the poison of populism and that the divisions and lies sown by President Trump, as well as his followers in the Republican Party and elsewhere, have terrible consequences" Renew Europe leader Dacian Cioloş MEP

Other MEPs described the events as “a dark day for the United States” including Renew Europe leader Dacian Cioloş who said, ”The outrageous scenes overnight in Washington show the poison of populism and that the divisions and lies sown by President Trump, as well as his followers in the Republican Party and elsewhere, have terrible consequences.

“Our response to these events must be to work with the Biden administration to redouble efforts to cement democracy and the rule of law globally, including within Europe.”

His Belgian colleague Hilde Vautmans, Renew Europe Group’s coordinator in the Foreign Affairs Committee, added, “The events are a stark reminder that democracy can never be taken for granted. That it is a common, daily fight.”

“The EU stands united in its support to President-Elect Joe Biden and its trust in the US democratic process. We look forward to turning this dark page in history and working together with the new US administration on strengthening liberal democracy both at home and abroad.”

EU foreign policy Chief Josep Borrell strongly condemned the riots, saying, “In the eyes of the world, American democracy tonight appears under siege.”

Borrell said the November election results must be respected. “This is an unseen assault on US democracy, its institutions and the rule of law. This is not America. The election results of 3 November must be fully respected.”

EU Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni described the scenes as “images we never wanted to see” while NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg described the images as “shocking,” adding: “The outcome of this democratic election must be respected.”

“In the eyes of the world, American democracy tonight appears under siege. This is an unseen assault on US democracy, its institutions and the rule of law. This is not America. The election results of 3 November must be fully respected” EU foreign policy Chief Josep Borrell

Despite the angry demo, Congress later certified Biden and Kamala Harris as the next president and vice-president of the US.

The electoral votes were approved after both the Senate and the House of Representatives rejected objections to the votes in the states of Pennsylvania and Arizona. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he believes no other states’ votes will be challenged.

This is after objections to results from Georgia, Nevada, Michigan, Arizona and Pennsylvania were all rejected.

Biden gave a televised speech from Delaware, urging Trump to address the nation and “demand an end to this siege. It’s not protest, it’s insurrection. The world is watching,” Biden added.

In a statement, Trump said, “Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th. I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted.

“While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!”

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