WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement in response to the violence in Washington today and the vote by Congress to accept electoral votes lawfully certified by the states and affirmed by the Electoral College, thereby upholding the will of the American people who elected Joe Biden the 46th president of the United States:
“Today, Donald Trump made clear why he shouldn’t be president. He enabled terrorists who stormed the U.S. Capitol and threatened the lives of duly elected officials while the world watched in horror. This reprehensible failure of the executive to protect the legislative branch is unconscionable, and for the safety of this country, Trump cannot leave office soon enough. Today was not a protest, it was an insurrection; President Trump, his accomplices and allies are guilty of incitement and must be held accountable. That starts with Trump’s immediate removal from office.
“But American democracy is stronger than Donald Trump. In the throes of a deadly pandemic, a crushing recession, a long-overdue reckoning with racial injustice and an ongoing climate crisis, a record number of Americans cast their vote in last year’s presidential election for decency, competence and progress—for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Today, despite partisan and petulant attempts to undo the will of those voters, democracy prevailed. We will teach our children about this moment for centuries to come and will work to restore future generations’ faith in the fidelity of our peaceful transfer of power.
“Our country continues to face massive challenges, as evidenced by the violent display in Washington today. As we struggle to contain COVID-19, protect our frontline healthcare workers, get families back to work and get students safely back to school, let us remember that Trump and many of his right-wing allies continue to focus on obstructing the very function of our government. When we need healing, they promote violence. When we need peace, they sow chaos. They politicize and misrepresent the truth to undermine the free, fair and functional society we aspire to live in, and in doing so, they undermine the very people government is meant to serve. Today was a tragic reminder of just how dangerous an unchecked despot and his followers truly can be.
“In this election, our democracy was tested by a grown man’s inability to lose, which threatened to jeopardize the great American experiment. A stronger leader would have used this moment as an opportunity to resurrect the tatters of his presidency, restore order and condemn violence. Trump has failed, but thankfully our system remains intact. Let us now begin to rebuild our more perfect union, built on the voices of the many.”