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Obama: GOP’s ‘fantasy narrative’ about election spurred today’s violence

Former President Barack Obama speaks in support of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden during a drive-in rally at the Florida International University on November 02, 2020 in Miami, Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama issued a statement on the mob of pro-Trump extremists who infiltrated the Capitol and delayed election certification on Wednesday.

“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. 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.”

Before the building was secured late on Wednesday, rioters had freely roamed through the Capitol complex, including the Senate chamber, where one man stood on the president of the Senate’s chair and shouted, “Trump won that election!” Several law enforcement officials said a woman who was shot inside the Capitol building during the chaos had died, and at least one improvised explosive device was found. 

Obama’s stern statement followed a more triumphant one from the 44th U.S. President just six hours earlier in which he congratulated Raphael Warnock on winning a historic election in Georgia, and becoming the state’s first Black senator.

“My friend John Lewis is surely smiling down on his beloved Georgia this morning, as people across the state carried forward the baton that he and so many others passed down to them,” Obama wrote earlier.

“Georgia’s first Black senator will make the chamber more reflective of our country as a whole and open the door for a Congress that can forego gridlock for gridlock’s sake to focus instead on the many crises facing our nation—pandemic relief for struggling families, voting rights, protecting our planet, and more.”

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