United States President-elect Joe Biden had harsh words on Thursday for the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol, as well as for President Donald Trump himself, blaming him squarely for the violence .
“What we witnessed yesterday was not dissent, it was not disorder, it was not protest. It was chaos, ”Biden said Thursday in Wilmington, Delaware. “They were not demonstrators. Don’t dare call them protesters. It was an emotional crowd, insurgents, national terrorists.
“I wish I could say we couldn’t see it coming. But this is not true. We could see it coming.
“Over the past four years, we’ve had a president who has expressed his contempt for democracy, for our constitution, for the rule of law, clearly in everything he’s done,” Biden continued.
“He unleashed a total attack on our institutions of our democracy from the start. And yesterday was the culmination of this relentless attack.
Biden’s remarks came just before introducing Merrick Garland, his choice for attorney general, and pledging a radical change of course by the Trump administration on the US Department of Justice.
“Over the past four years we’ve had a president who has expressed his contempt for our democracy, our Constitution, the rule of law, clearly in everything he has done,” said Biden. “More than anything, we must restore the honor, the integrity, the independence of the Department of Justice which has been so badly damaged.”
If confirmed by the Senate, which is likely, Garland would take over as the country’s primary law enforcement official at a critical time for the agency and the country. He would inherit immediate civil rights challenges, an ongoing criminal tax investigation into Biden’s son Hunter, and calls from many Democrats to continue criminal investigations into Trump after he leaves.
Garland would also inherit the Special Council’s investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation, which remains open.
Garland’s appointment will force Senate Republicans to face someone they rejected four years ago – even refusing to hold hearings when former President Barack Obama appointed Garland to the Supreme Court. His prospects for confirmation were virtually assured this week when Democrats seized control of the Senate majority by winning both US Senate seats in Georgia.
Garland and three others Biden has chosen for Justice Department leadership positions were introduced Thursday afternoon in Wilmington, Delaware. Among them are the Obama administration’s Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco as deputy attorney general and former Justice Department civil rights chief Vanita Gupta as associate attorney general. He also appointed an assistant attorney general for civil rights, Kristen Clarke, now chair of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights under the Act, an advocacy group.
Garland was selected from other finalists, including former Senator Doug Jones and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates.
Garland would inherit a Justice Department that has endured four tumultuous years and much criticism from Democrats over what they see as the overpoliticization of law enforcement.
The department is expected to radically change course under new leadership, including taking a different approach to civil rights issues and national policing policies, particularly after months of mass protests against the deaths of black Americans at the hands of US forces. order.
Biden referred to what he saw as a “clear failure to deliver equal justice” in the way law enforcement handled Wednesday’s rioting.
“No one can tell me that if it was a group of Black Lives Matter that protested yesterday, they wouldn’t have been treated very, very differently from the mob of thugs who stormed the Capitol,” said Biden.
“We all know it’s true. And this is unacceptable. Totally unacceptable. “
Meanwhile, Biden will choose Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as labor secretary and Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo to head the commerce department, news agencies reported, citing people familiar with the decisions.
Walsh, 53, has been the Democratic mayor of Boston since 2014 and is a former union worker who shares Biden’s Irish-American background and working class roots. When he was sworn in for his second term as Boston CEO in 2018, Biden presided over the inauguration. His selection was confirmed by a person close to the decision who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Prior to that, Walsh served as the State Representative for over a decade.
Raimondo, a former venture capital firm, is in her second term as governor of Rhode Island and previously served as state treasurer. Her name had been announced for Biden’s Health Secretary, although she said last month that she would stay in Rhode Island and continue to focus on the coronavirus pandemic.
The Commerce Department is the official face of American affairs abroad, but it also heads key federal departments such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US Patent and Trademark Office, and the US Census Bureau.