President Donald Trump for the first time acknowledged his defeat in the November 3rd US presidential elections and announced that there will be an “orderly transition” of power to President-elect Joe Biden on January 20, the Inauguration Day, after the Congress certified Biden’s victory in the electoral vote count on Thursday.
Trump’s acknowledgement came after a day of chaos and destruction in Washington as the violent pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol Hill, the seat of the US government, and unleashed unprecedented mayhem in hopes of preventing the rightful transition of power. Officials were forced into hiding, offices were ransacked and the Electoral College vote tally was halted for more than six hours. Four people were killed in the confrontation.
“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”, Trump said in a media statement posted by his social media director. Trump’s account had been locked by the company for posting messages to justify the assault on Capitol Hill. Social media giant Facebook has also imposed an indefinite ban on Donald Trump and said that it would search for and remove any content which praised Thursday’s attack on the Capitol.
YouTube has also removed Trump’s video in which he challenges the integrity of the November elections.
“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!”, Trump said in the media statement.
The president has spent the past two months refusing to concede and making unfounded allegations of voter fraud. His own Justice Department, the federal courts and even the Supreme Court have ruled that the election was conducted freely and fairly, neat from any kind of fraud.
Trump’s refusal to accept the election results reached a breaking point on Wednesday when a violent mob of loyalists stormed the seat of the United States’ government. Authorities said that four people were killed in the violence, including a woman who was shot down by an officer outside the House Chamber.
The firebrand president had blatantly encouraged his supporters to march on the Capitol. He later appeared to excuse the occupation of the mob, saying that these things will happen when a “landslide election victory” is “unceremoniously & viciously stripped” away from the “patriots” who have been treated “badly” for so long.
“Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!” he said in a tweet that was later removed by Twitter.
World reaction to the storming of the US Capitol
Being the leader of the free world, the United States is supposed to protect and encourage democracy abroad. But when the democracy in America itself came under attack, the world was bound to react, and so it did.
“What happened today in Washington, D.C., is not America, definitely. We believe in the strength of our democracies, we believe in the strength of American democracy.” – French President Emmanual Macron.
“Disgraceful scenes in US Congress. The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.” – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“A fundamental rule of democracy is that, after elections, there are winners and losers. Both have to play their role with decency and responsibility so that democracy itself remains the winner….President Trump regrettably has not conceded his defeat since November, and didn’t yesterday either, and of course that has prepared the atmosphere in which such events, such violent events, are possible.” — German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“What is happening is wrong. 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. Our thoughts are with everyone who is as devastated as we are by the events of today. I have no doubt democracy will prevail.” — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
As the leaders of the democratic world reacted with horror to the storming of the Capitol and reaffirmed their faith in the resilience of American democracy, official propagandists in China seized the opportunity, and could scarcely contain their schadenfreude.
If the United States cannot allow the storming of its own legislature, they asked, then how can it support the same actions by violent protestors in Hong Kong?
“.@SpeakerPelosi once referred to the Hong Kong riots as “a beautiful sight to behold” — it remains yet to be seen whether she will say the same about the recent developments in Capitol Hill”, the nationalistic Chinese state-run tabloid Global Times tweeted.
Western observers view the two scenarios differently: Protestors in Hong Kong were demanding the right to elect the city’s leaders and to stop an extradition bill which they considered to be a step in China’s policy of eroding the freedom of Hong Kong. In the United States, however, the pro-Trump mob attacked the Capitol to prevent the peaceful and totally democratic transition of power.
The Chinese media did not see any distinction between the two scenarios and simply used the US as a justification for China’s brutal crackdown of Hong Kong.
The Chinese remarks are an illustration of how Trump’s subversion of American democracy has provided cover for the authoritative regimes like China.