Joe Biden Says Despite Trump's Acquittal, the 'Substance of the Charge Is Not in Dispute’
Trump was charged with inciting an insurrection in January after a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6
"Today, 57 Senators – including a record 7 Republicans – voted to find former President Trump guilty for inciting that deadly insurrection on our very democracy," Biden said, emphasizing that while "the final vote did not lead to a conviction, the substance of the charge is not in dispute."
Biden went on to note that even some Republicans who voted to acquit Trump, like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, still "believe Donald Trump was guilty of a 'disgraceful dereliction of duty' and 'practically and morally responsible for provoking' the violence unleashed on the Capitol."
Instead of continuing to focus on Trump, Biden said that his thoughts were with all "those who bravely stood guard that January day."
"I'm thinking about all those who lost their lives, all those whose lives were threatened, and all those who are still today living with terror they lived through that day," he said. "And I'm thinking of those who demonstrated the courage to protect the integrity of our democracy – Democrats and Republicans, election officials and judges, elected representatives and poll workers – before and after the election. "
"This sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile. That it must always be defended. That we must be ever vigilant. That violence and extremism has no place in America," he continued. "And that each of us has a duty and responsibility as Americans, and especially as leaders, to defend the truth and to defeat the lies."
As Biden's statement came to a close, he once again took a stand for the importance of working together to heal the nation's divide. "That is how we end this uncivil war and heal the very soul of our nation. That is the task ahead. And it's a task we must undertake together. As the United States of America," he said.
Trump was charged with inciting an insurrection in January after a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol during a joint session of Congress and five people died. The charges made him the only U.S. president to have been impeached twice.
Along with all 50 Senate Democrats, Republican Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania voted guilty on Saturday.
Shortly after the Senate's decision, Trump released a lengthy statement, which was obtained by PEOPLE.
He did not comment on the case made against him this week or acknowledge the accounts of mayhem and violence that were central to his trial. Instead he complained, as he has numerous times over the years, of a "witch hunt," and stated "our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun."
Following the vote, many celebrities spoke critically of what they just witnessed, with many pointing to McConnell's actions as being particularly egregious.
"To those people governed by the 43 @SenateGOP who refused to convict: they do not care about your safety, the country's safety, or even their own," wrote Padma Lakshmi. "They will go down in history as cowards and they don't deserve to represent you."
"The President was guilty of everything he was accused of...which is why I voted to acquit," Jon Stewart wrote in another Tweet comment on McConnell, while Mia Farrow added in another, "Theres Mitch McConnell on my tv having his cake and eating it too."
In another message, television host Jimmy Kimmel remarked on his disappointment over the outcome.
"Feeling dumb - again - for hoping more of them would do the right thing," he wrote.