US ambassador blasts pro-Trump rioters

  •  acknowledges Biden’s electoral victory,
  • says “criminals” who stormed the Capitol will face the music

Herbert Moyo

UNITED States (US) Ambassador to Lesotho, Rebecca Gonzales, has branded as “criminals”, the unruly mob of her outgoing President Donald Trump’s supporters for storming the US Capitol building in Washington DC last week.

The rioters stormed the Capitol- the seat of the US congress- to protest what they said was the fraudulent outcome of the US’s November 2020 elections which saw Mr Trump- the Republican candidate- lose to Democrat Joe Biden.

Mr Trump’s supporters besieged the Capitol stoked by his defiant but pathologically false speech that the election was stolen from him.  He urged his supporters to storm the Capitol.

Thousands of his supporters had braved bone-chilling temperatures to hear him speak at the Ellipse below the White House before marching to the Capitol.

“If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” Mr Trump had told the crowd. By the end of the night, five people had died in the ensuing chaos and offices throughout the Capitol were trashed by the angry mob. Lawmakers were forced to barricade themselves in the debating chamber before the situation was eventually brought under control by the police and other security forces.

In a statement titled “Storming of the United States Capitol”, Ms Gonzales said the protestors were “criminals” who had committed “violent acts of terror against our democracy”.

She said she expected the rioters to be charged for their actions which have soiled the reputation of the US as the world’s foremost democracy.

She said despite the actions of the rioters, power would still be handed over to Mr Biden on 20 January 2021. Mr Biden resoundingly won the election with 306 electoral college votes to Mr Trump’s 232. This was way more than the 270 votes needed to win the election.

Mr Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, will make history by becoming the first female vice president of the US.

Speaking on the issue, Ms Gonzales said, “The United States Congress has completed its constitutionally mandated count of the electoral college vote and affirmed the election of Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris. They will be sworn into office and a peaceful transfer of power will occur on 20 January 2021”.

“The criminals who committed violent acts of terror against our democracy will be held accountable in accordance with the rule of law in the United States. Our heartfelt gratitude to the many citizens of Lesotho who sent messages of support during yesterday’s (6 January 2021)’s difficult hours.

“The enduring friendship and partnership between the United States and the people of Lesotho will endure and thrive as we recommit to supporting and living up to our democratic ideals,” added Ms Gonzales.

The US has for years been the world’s greatest symbol of democracy. It has spoken against abuses around the world. In Southern Africa, the US has steadfastly stood against oppressive antiquated regimes like Zimbabwe. Yet its reputation as the ultimate paragon of democratic virtue has been imperilled by Trump’s crass recklessness and stupidity.


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