World leaders have expressed their shock after supporters of United States President Donald Trump, encouraged by him, stormed the U.S. Capitol building as Congress met to certify the results of the Nov. 3 election, which he lost to President-elect Joe Biden.
The U.S. Congress hours after the attack (early yesterday) certified the Electoral College vote that gave Biden his presidential victory. Vice President Mike Pence, who had announced he would not overturn the will of voters, confirmed the Biden victory at 3:41 a.m. ET.
Biden, 78, who defeated Trump in both the popular votes and at the Electoral College, will be sworn in, alongside his vice president-elect, Kamala Harris, on January 20. Biden polled 306 votes against Trump’s 232 in the electoral college votes.
Among adversaries, China compared the violence to protests in Hong Kong, Russia said it showed the weakness of Western democracy, and Iran called Trump an unchecked threat to the world’s security. Allies of the United States condemned the attack, and Trump, but said U.S. democracy would ultimately reassert itself.
Russia: Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova: “The electoral system in the United States is archaic, it does not meet modern democratic standards, creating opportunities for numerous violations, and the American media have become an instrument of political struggle.”
Konstantin Kosachyov, chairman of the international affairs committee of the Russian upper house: “The celebration of democracy is over. This is, alas, actually the bottom, I say this without a hint of gloating. America is no longer charting the course, and therefore has lost all its rights to set it. And especially to impose it on others.”
China: China drew a comparison between the storming of the Capitol and often-violent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, which have been quelled by the coronavirus pandemic and a security crackdown by Beijing. “We also wish that U.S. people can enjoy peace, stability and security as soon as possible,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.
Iran: “What happened in America showed what a failure Western democracy is … A populist man damaged the reputation of his country,” President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted: “A rogue president who sought vengeance against his OWN people has been doing much worse to our people and others in the past 4 years. What’s disturbing is that the same man has the UNCHECKED authority to start a nuclear war; a security concern for the entire int’l community.”
Zimbabwe: President Emmerson Mnangagwa tweeted: “Last year, President Trump extended painful economic sanctions placed on Zimbabwe, citing concerns about Zimbabwe’s democracy. Yesterday’s events showed that the U.S. has no moral right to punish another nation under the guise of upholding democracy.”
United Nations: U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was “saddened” by the events at the U.S. Capitol, his spokesman said. “In such circumstances, it is important that political leaders impress on their followers the need to refrain from violence, as well as to respect democratic processes and the rule of law,” Stephane Dujarric said.
Germany: Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said democracy’s enemies would be cheered by the scenes of violence in Washington, but also alluded to Germany’s own recent experience with far-right attacks and a far-right protest that forced its way into the steps of the parliament, the Reichstag, in August. “It would be self-righteous to point the finger at America alone,” he tweeted. “Even here, in Hanau, Halle, on the steps of the Reichstag, we have had to experience how agitation and inflammatory words turn into hateful deeds.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “One of the ground rules of democracy is that after elections there is a winner and a loser.”
France: “What happened today in Washington DC is not American, definitely,” President Emmanuel Macron said in a video message, in English, on Twitter. “We believe in the strength of our democracies. We believe in the strength of American democracy.”
Italy: “I supported the ideas and positions of the Republicans, of the conservatives, of Trump,” said far-right League party leader Matteo Salvini. “But a legitimate vote is one thing, going to parliament and clashing with the police is quite a different matter. That’s not political vision, that’s madness.”
Britain: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted to say the events were a “disgrace”, that the United States stood for democracy around the world, and that was it was vital that there should be an orderly transfer of power.
Foreign Minister Simon Coveney called the scenes in Washington “a deliberate assault on Democracy by a sitting President & his supporters, attempting to overturn a free & fair election!”.
European union: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted: “I believe in the strength of US institutions and democracy. Peaceful transition of power is at the core. @JoeBiden won the election. I look forward to working with him as the next President of the USA.”
Czech republic: Prime Minister Andrej Babis removed an image of a red “Strong Czechia” hat inspired by Trump’s “Make America Great Again” cap from his social media accounts. He said he was responding to “the unprecedented attack on democracy in the United States, which I have unequivocally condemned”.
Israel: Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi tweeted: “I am sure that the American people and their elected representatives will know how to fend off this attack and will continue to defend the values on which the United States was founded.”
India Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “The democratic process cannot be allowed to be subverted through unlawful protests.”
Japan: Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters: “We hope to see democracy in the United States overcome this difficult situation, calmness and harmony regained, and a peaceful and democratic transfer of power.”
Australia: Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted: “We condemn these acts of violence and look forward to a peaceful transfer of Government to the newly elected administration in the great American democratic tradition.”
New Zealand: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tweeted: “Democracy – the right of people to exercise a vote, have their voice heard and then have that decision upheld peacefully – should never be undone by a mob.”
Venezuela: Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza tweeted: “Venezuela … condemns the political polarization and hopes that the American people will open a new path toward stability and social justice.”
Argentina: President Alberto Fernandez condemned “the serious acts of violence and the affront to Congress”, adding: “We trust that there will be a peaceful transition that respects the popular will.”
Mexico: Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said his government adhered to the principle of non-intervention in the affairs of other countries. “We’re not going to intervene in these matters, which are up to the Americans to resolve, to deal with. That’s our policy, that’s what I can say,” he said, after being asked to comment on the events that provoked widespread outrage in the United States.
But he expressed regret that lives had been lost during the events in Washington on Wednesday, noting that he had always believed that conflicts, whether they were in Mexico or abroad, should be resolved “via dialogue and peaceful means”.