In a statement, former first lady Michelle Obama placed blamed Wednesday’s riot at the U.S. Capitol on outgoing President Donald Trump and critiqued law enforcement officials for their passive approach when compared to those protesting police brutality.
In her statement, released Thursday, the former first lady blamed Trump for inciting his supporters to the point of violence.
“The day was the fulfillment of the wishes of an infantile and unpatriotic president who can't handle the truth of his own failures," Obama wrote.
She also extended blame to Trump’s Republican allies and conservative media outlets, who have continued to push claims of widespread voter fraud despite little evidence to support the claims.
“The wreckage lays at the feet of a party and a media apparatus that cheered him on, knowing full well the possibility of consequences like these,” she wrote.
Obama also compared the lax response of Capitol police to the summer protests against police brutality.
"Seeing the gulf between the responses to yesterday's riot and this summer's peaceful protests and the larger movement for racial justice is so painful," she added. "It hurts. ... in city after city, day after day, we saw cracked skulls and mass arrests, law enforcement pepper spraying its way through a peaceful demonstration for a presidential photo op."
On Wednesday and early Thursday morning, DC Metro Police report that 68 people were arrested in connection with riots. On June 1 — the day federal law enforcement tear-gassed hundreds of mostly peaceful protesters so Trump could take a photo in front of a damaged church — law enforcement made 289 arrests.
Obama closed her statement by saying she saw a “glimmers of hope” — notably, the wins in Georgia runoffs by fellow Democrats Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.
“I pray that every American, especially those who disagree with them, will give our new Congress, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris the chance to lead us in a better direction,” Obama wrote.
Five people were killed as a result of Wednesday's riots, including a U.S. Capitol police officer.
See Michelle Obama’s entire statement below.
January 7, 2021