Trump supporters storm U.S. Capitol

The images in the news yesterday of the formal certification of the US election result by US politicians were terrifying. Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol and thereby the seat of the US Congress, the US legislature. The situation quickly escalated. US President Trump, who is still in office, appealed to protesters to act peacefully. However, he did not clearly ask them to leave or criticise them. He still maintains that he did not lose the election. By contrast, his Vice President, Mike Pence, publically demanded that Trump supporters leave the Capitol peacefully. US President-elect Joe Biden has called on Trump to officially accept the election results. Police and security forces were able to secure the building. The session in Congress continued.

There is obviously a (probably small) proportion of the population that will not stop at anything, including violent and armed protests. This is without doubt certainly not true for all US-Americans. At the moment it is unclear whether this development could tip sentiment in favour of Joe Biden, even among Republicans. All in all, the most recent events are unlikely to prevent the inauguration of Joe Biden on 20 January. The Supreme Court and many different regional courts have declared the November US election as legal. Nevertheless, the coming weeks are likely to be difficult for Joe Biden and many US politicians. The fact that the two Senate seats in Georgia were actually won by the Democrats should greatly facilitate the start of the Biden administration. However, the most important task for the new US administration will be to unite Americans again.

— Birgit Henseler

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