The world has reacted with fury and distress at the horrifying scenes unfolding in Washington DC, after violent pro-Trump rioters stormed the US Capitol.
The House and Senate were forced into emergency recess earlier today, Wednesday local time, after angry crowds of Donald Trump’s supporters breached security cordons and forcibly entered the building after clashing with police.
Despite the horrifying scenes, Mr Trump repeatedly used Twitter to double down on disproved claims the election was stolen from him.
“I know your pain, I know your hurt, we had an election that was stolen from us…but you have to go home now, we have to have peace and law and order,” he said, in a now deleted video.
Earlier, Mr Trump called for “peaceful” protests however his calls for calm were too late.
Social media has been awash with criticism, with a number of former presidents and Mr Trump’s old Republican allies joining the condemnation.
Former President Barack Obama, who peacefully left the White House for Donald Trump in 2016, described the events in the Capitol today as “a moment of great dishonour and shame” but admitted it wasn’t a surprise.
Former President George W. Bush also released a lengthy statement, describing the riot as “sickening and heartbreaking”.
Bill Clinton also weighed in, levelling the entirety of the blame at Mr Trump and claiming he “lit the match”.
Jeb Bush, the former Governor of Florida and the younger brother of former President George W. Bush, called on Mr Trump to “go home to Florida”.
Former White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah, who assisted Mr Trump in his campaign, begged people to accept the election result.
Former Defence Secretary James Mattis said Mr Trump and his allies would “live in infamy as profiles in cowardice”.
Republican Senator Mitt Romney also didn’t mince words, labelling the outgoing president as a “selfish man”.
“We gather today due to a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of his supporters whom he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action this very morning,” Mr Romney said in a statement.
“What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States. Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy. They will be remembered for their role in this shameful episode in American history. That will be their legacy.
“The best way we can show respect for the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth. That is the burden, and the duty, of leadership. The truth is that President-elect Biden won this election. President Trump lost. Scores of courts, the President’s own Attorney General, and state election officials both Republican and Democrat have reached this unequivocal decision.”
Vermont Governor Phil Scott, a Republican who voted for Joe Biden in November, levelled blame at Mr Trump .
“Make no mistake, the President of the United States is responsible for this event,” Mr Scott said.
“President Trump has orchestrated a campaign to cause an insurrection that overturns the results of a free, fair and legal election.
“The fact is the results of this election have been validated by Republican governors, conservative judges and non-partisan election officials across the country.
“There is no doubt that the President’s delusion, fabrication, self-interest and ego have led us, step by step, to this very low and very dangerous moment in American history.
“The fabric of our democracy and the principles of our republic are under attack by the President. Enough is enough. President Trump should resign or be removed from office by his Cabinet, or by the Congress.”
Arizona Governer Doug Ducey, a Trump supporter, called for an end to the protest.
Congressman Ken Buck, a Republican from Colorado, shared a number of terrifying pictures from inside the Capitol building and labelled it “un-American”.
World leaders are also beginning to respond to the chaotic scenes, including Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser has ordered a citywide curfew due to the raid.
Ms Bowser set a 6pm curfew after thousands of protesters descended on the US Congress, forced politicians to go into recess as they began the process of confirming Joe Biden as the next US president.
The curfew is to remain in place until 6am Thursday.
US police in the chamber of the US House of Representatives drew their weapons as supporters of Mr Trump tried to break in, a congressman said.
“Chamber security and Capitol Police have their guns drawn as protesters bang on the front door of the chamber,” Representative Dan Kildee tweeted from inside the chamber.
“We have been instructed to lie down on the floor and put on our gas masks.”