By Reuters Staff *
LONDON (Reuters) – Donald Trump’s rhetoric in disputing his loss of the U.S. presidential election led directly to “terrible” violence at the U.S. Capitol and he should condemn the scenes in Washington, British interior minister Priti Patel said on Thursday.
Hundreds of Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in a stunning bid to overturn his election defeat, battling police in the hallways and delaying the certification of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s victory for hours.
Patel said that the events were “terrible beyond words”, and Trump had not only failed to de-escalate the violence but had fuelled it.
“His comments directly led to the violence, and so far, he has failed to condemn that violence and that is completely wrong,” Patel, who is in charge of security and policing in Britain, told BBC TV.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the scenes in Washington, D.C., as “disgraceful” late on Wednesday.
The interventions from Johnson and Patel mark a striking change of tone from the government of Britain, a close U.S. ally, towards Trump. Previously, Johnson and his ministers have consistently sought to avoid criticising the U.S. president.
Patel said that the United States was a “beacon of democracy” and that it was “absolutely essential” that there was a transition to a Biden administration.
“America needs to move on,” she said.
“We absolutely want them to move on now and have that orderly transition that they need so that they continue with their own governance and their own norms in terms of establishing the presidential office.”
Reporting by Alistair Smout, editing by Estelle Shirbon