Biden calls pro-Trump rioters at the Capitol ‘domestic terrorists’

Mr Biden also defended comparisons between events at the Capitol and earlier Black Lives Matter protests

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President-elect Joe Biden shared his thoughts on Wednesday’s events in Washington, DC, stating it was “one of the darkest days in the history of our nation.”

Mr Biden discussed the violence at the Capitol before a scheduled announcement of his Justice Department nominees on Thursday afternoon.

“Yesterday, in my view, was one of the darkest days in the history of our nation, an unprecedented assault on our democracy,” he said from a closed theatre that his presidential transition team has been using in Wilmington, Delaware.

Hundreds of pro-Trump supporters gathered for a speech by President Donald Trump outside the White House on the same day Congress met to formally certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.

At the gathering, Mr Trump repeated unsubstantiated claims of how the 2020 presidential election had been stolen from him and his supporters and he encouraged them to march down to the Capitol.

“In the past four years, we’ve had a president who’s made his contempt for our democracy, our constitution, the rule of law clear in everything he has done,” Mr Biden said.

"He unleashed an all-out assault on the institutions of our democracy from the outset and yesterday was but the culmination of that unrelenting attack.”

Many Trump rallygoers, many armed, walked to Capitol Hill and then stormed the legislative building, leading to extensive damage and four deaths. The House and Senate had to pause the election certification and be escorted out of the building.

"It was not dissent, it was not disorder," Mr Biden said. "It was not protest. Don't call them protesters. They were a riotous mob, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists."

Current acting US attorney general Jeffrey Rosen vowed he would identify people involved in the Capitol violence and present federal charges.

There was widespread criticism over how police handled the attacks, with many making comparisons to how the city approached Black Lives Matter demonstrations over the summer.

Comparisons of the two events highlighted the racial and political differences between the two groups and the respective responses of police.

“No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they wouldn’t have been treated very, very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol,” Mr Biden said regarding the comparisons, agreeing they were fair to make.

Vice president-elect Kamala Harris added, “we witnessed two systems of justice when we saw one that let extremists storm the United States Capitol and another that released tear gas on peaceful protesters last summer.”