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Obama: 'A Moment Of Great Dishonor And Shame For Our Nation' — But Not A Surprise

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Former President Barack Obama campaigning for Joe Biden in Miami days before the election. (Chandan Khanna / AFP via Getty Images)
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Former President Barack Obama said that the violence that gripped the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday was the unsurprising result of two months of instigation by President Trump and his enablers.

"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," Obama said in a statement Wednesday evening. "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 January 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," wrote Obama, whose eight-year administration directly preceded Trump's.

Obama also pointed a finger at a larger group of Republicans for their role in inciting the fracas, as many denied for months that Biden was the lawful winner of November's election.

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"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 raging fires. Or they can choose reality and take the first steps toward extinguishing the flames. They can choose America."

Obama said he had been "heartened" to see many Republicans speaking up on Wednesday against the insurrection in the nation's capital – Republicans who directly condemned the violence as Trump himself did not.

"Their voices add to the examples of Republican state and local election officials in states like Georgia who've refused to be intimidated and have discharged their duties honorably," Obama said. "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."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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