President-elect Joe Biden on Friday said he’s glad President Trump isn’t coming to his inauguration on Jan. 20 — calling Trump an “embarrassment” for his actions Wednesday when his supporters broke into the Capitol.
Biden said, however, that Vice President Mike Pence is welcome to come after rejecting Trump’s effort to overturn the Electoral College results.
“The vice president is welcome to come and we’d be honored to have him there,” Biden told reporters at a press conference in Wilmington, Del.
Biden slammed Trump for revving up thousands of supporters in a speech at the White House on Wednesday before the mob descended on lawmakers. Trump claimed that the election was stolen by voter fraud, a claim courts have rejected, and told supporters to go “fight like hell” to reverse Biden’s win at the Capitol, which they did, resulting in five deaths.
“He indicated he wasn’t going to show up at the inauguration — one of the few things he and I have ever agreed on. It’s a good thing, him not showing up,” Biden said.
“He has exceeded even my worst notions about him. He’s been an embarrassment to the country and embarrassed us around the world. [He’s] not worthy, not worthy to hold that office.”
Biden previously said he wanted Trump to attend to help continue the American tradition of peacefully handing over power after elections. Only three other presidents have skipped their successor’s inauguration.
Biden praised Republicans including outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for denouncing the riot and expressed understanding for everyday Trump supporters who mistakenly believe the election was stolen by fraud.
The president-elect likened claims of widespread voter fraud to the lies of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, and singled out Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) twice by name.
Biden declined to say if he supports an effort by House Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), to impeach Trump before Jan. 20.
“If we were six months out, we should be moving everything to get him out of office: impeaching him again, trying to invoke the 25th Amendment, whatever it took to get him out of office. But I am focused now on us taking control — president and vice president — on the 20th, and to get our agenda moving as quickly as we can,” Biden said.
“I think it’s important to get on with the business of getting him out of office. The quickest way that that will happen is us being sworn in on the 20th. What actually happens before or after that is a judgment for the Congress to make.”
Biden said that with Trump’s conduct on Wednesday, “What this president has done is rip the Band Aid all the way off and let the country know who he is and what he’s about — how thoroughly unfit for office he is.”
The former vice president, who once ran against 2012 GOP presidential nominee Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), hailed Romney as “a man of enormous integrity” for standing up to Trump.
“We need a Republican Party, we need an opposition that’s principled and strong,” Biden said.
“Republican colleagues talked about how shameful it is the way Ted Cruz and others are dealing with this, how they’re responsible as well for what happened,” Biden said.
“Acolytes who follow him like Cruz and others, they are as responsible as he is.”
But extending an olive branch, Biden also allowed that many people may be confused about the Nov. 3 election.
“There are decent people out there who actually believe these lies because they’ve heard it again and again,” he said.