US president-elect Joe Biden has demanded that Donald Trump goes on national television “to fulfil his oath” and call for peace.
It comes as Republican Vermont governor Phil Scott said on Twitter that the “fabric of our democracy and the principles of our republic are under attack by the President”.
“President Trump should resign or be removed from office by his Cabinet, or by the Congress,” he added.
Reacting to protests at the US Capitol building in Washington DC, Mr Biden said he was shocked and saddened and insisted members of the “mob do not represent who we are” and described them as “a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness”.
“This is not dissent, it’s disorder, chaos and borders on sedition and it must end now,” he added.
“Pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward. The world is watching.”
He then called on Donald Trump to step up and urge the protesters to pull back.
“I call on this mob to pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward. You heard me say before in a different context – the words of a president matter, no matter how good or bad that president is.
“At their best, the words of a president can inspire. At their worst, they can incite.
“Therefore, I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfil his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege.”
Shortly after, the president released a recorded statement on Twitter.
“I know your pain, I know you’re hurt,” he said.
“We had an election stolen from us…but you have to go home now, we have to have peace.
“This was a fraudulent election but we can’t play into the hands of these people but we have to have peace.”
Vice President Mike Pence – who Mr Trump had earlier accused of lacking courage after he said he would not intervene in the election result – also tweeted about the unrest.
“The violence and destruction taking place at the US Capitol Must Stop and it Must Stop Now. Anyone involved must respect Law Enforcement officers and immediately leave the building,” he said.
“Peaceful protest is the right of every American but this attack on our Capitol will not be tolerated and those involved will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
Joe Biden takes oath of office to become America’s 46th president | US News
Joe Biden has become the 46th president of the United States, after taking his oath of office in a heavily scaled back inauguration ceremony in Washington DC.
He swore to preserve, protect and defend America to the sound of cheers and applause from former presidents both Democrat and Republican – though Donald Trump decided to break precedent by skipping the event.
It came minutes after new Vice President Kamala Harris took her oath, too.
Mr Biden stressed the fairness of last November’s election result in the opening of his inaugural address by declaring: “This is democracy’s day. The will of the people has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded.
“We’ve learned again that democracy is precious, democracy is fragile and at this hour my friends, democracy has prevailed.”
Mr Biden promised to “press forward with speed and urgency” during a “winter of peril” to tackle the “once-in-a-century virus that silently stalks the country”, also vowing to confront white supremacy and terrorism.
He stressed his prevailing focus after a divisive election campaign will be on “uniting our nation”, adding: “With unity, we can do great things, important things – we can right wrongs.”
And he said he wanted to “make America once again a leading force for good in the world”, seemingly in a snub to Mr Trump commenting: “Let’s start afresh… all of us.”
Mr Biden urged people to “join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature”, for, he explained, without unity there will be “no nation, only a state of chaos”.
Speaking as he looked out on to the National Mall lit by a bright sunshine, Mr Biden continued: “Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire destroying everything in its path.
“Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war and we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured.”
Repeating a motif from his victory speeches in the days after winning the Electoral College vote, Mr Biden promised to be “a president for all Americans”.
Winding up his address, he struck an optimistic tone, saying: “Together we shall write an American story of hope not fear, of unity not division, of light not darkness.”
He ended with: “May God bless America and may God protect our troops, thank you America.”
Lady Gaga, wearing a large dove broach on her top and clasping a golden microphone, had just performed a rousing rendition of the national anthem – and Jennifer Lopez followed with an “American musical selection”.
Former presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton attended the event at the Capitol – and Mr Biden was greeted by cheers and applause as he walked up to the stage.
Mr Biden shared a fist-bump with Barack Obama before the pair took their seats, and then a series of speeches got underway – all sharing a theme of unity.
But as the new president prepared to take the oath of office, Donald Trump was landing in Florida.
Mr Trump is the first outgoing president since 1869 to skip an inauguration ceremony, but departing Vice President Mike Pence was in the audience.
As the inauguration ceremony took place in a chilly Washington DC, where it was trying to snow, the White House was getting a deep clean that was set to cost $500,000 (£366,000).
Shortly before the ceremony began, Mr Biden declared on Twitter: “It’s a new day in America.”
Mr Trump gave a parting message before boarding Air Force One, telling a small group of supporters and family members gathered on the tarmac of Joint Base Andrews that “we will be back in some form”.
“I wish the new administration great luck and great success,” he added, before boarding the plane, which took off to the booming soundtrack of Frank Sinatra’s My Way.
Mr Biden is only the second Catholic to hold the office of president.
His team have already announced he will sign a series of executive orders reversing several of Mr Trump’s policies, including on COVID-19, climate change and racial inequality.
Australian Open: Novak Djokovic says he is not ‘selfish, difficult and ungrateful’ for quarantine requests | World News
Tennis star Novak Djokovic has insisted he was not being “selfish, difficult and ungrateful” after making a list of requests for players in quarantine ahead of the Australian Open.
The men’s world number one reportedly sent a letter to Australian officials asking for a reduction in the time players spend in isolation, permission to see coaches and for athletes to be moved to private houses.
His suggestions were firmly rebuffed by Victoria’s premier Daniel Andrews, who said: “People are free to provide lists of demands, but the answer is no… There’s no special treatment here.”
A total of 72 players are in quarantine after 10 people who flew to Melbourne for the first Grand Slam of the year tested positive for coronavirus – leaving many forced to train in their hotel rooms.
Djokovic has since defended speaking out about the quarantine conditions, writing in a lengthy social media post: “My good intentions for my fellow competitors in Melbourne have been misconstrued as being selfish, difficult and ungrateful.
“This couldn’t be farther from the truth.”
He said his email exchange regarding suggestions for the quarantine conditions was an “opportunity to brainstorm” and he was “aware that the chances were low that any of our suggestions would be accepted”.
“There were a few suggestions and ideas that I gathered from other players from our chat group and there was no harm intended to try and help,” he said.
While many players are under the strictest quarantine conditions and unable to leave their rooms, others who were not on the affected flights – including Djokovic – are able to train outside for five hours a day under COVID-secure protocols.
The star player said he wanted to use his “position of privilege” to help others.
“I’ve earned my privileges the hard way and for that reason it is very difficult for me to be a mere onlooker knowing how much every help, gesture and good word mattered to me when I was small and insignificant in the world pecking order,” he said.
He added: “Things in the media escalated and there was a general impression that the players (including myself) are ungrateful, weak and selfish because of their unpleasant feelings in quarantine.
“I am very sorry that it has come that because I do know how grateful many are.”
Going ahead with the tournament amid the global pandemic and harsh restrictions in Melbourne has caused some controversy, particularly as many Australians remain stuck overseas.
Three new coronavirus cases related to the tournament were reported on Wednesday, including a player who has been in hard lockdown since they arrived.
The second case related to another player and the third is a support person with the player.
Madrid: ‘Extremely loud’ explosion in city centre – reports of injuries | World News
An “extremely loud” explosion has been reported in Madrid’s city centre – with rescue teams, firefighters and police sent to the scene.
Spanish media reports said the explosion took place in a building near a nursing home – and videos and images shared on social media showed rubble scattered in the street.
“We didn’t know where the sound came from. We all thought it was from the school. We went up the stairs to the top of our building and we could see the structure of the building and lots of grey smoke,” a witness told the AP news agency.
The explosion happened in Toledo street. Video on social media showed a number of wrecked cars and debris strewn in the road.
According to TVE, several people have been hurt, while Telemadrid is reporting that at least one person is trapped.
Emergency services could not immediately confirm if there had been injuries.
A police spokeswoman said the area was being evacuated but could not confirm the cause of the explosion.
Government sources have been quoted by Spanish media as saying it may have been a gas leak.
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