Watch: Boris Johnson 'unreservedly condemns' Donald Trump over US Capitol violence
Boris Johnson ‘unreservedly condemns’ Donald Trump for encouraging supporters to storm US Capitol
Johnson has previously been reluctant to criticise Trump during 18 months as prime minister
After violent scenes on Wednesday, PM attacks ‘disgraceful’ behaviour of mob which tried to overturn presidential election result
Boris Johnson has “unreservedly condemned” Donald Trump after the president encouraged his supporters to storm the US Capitol.
Trump’s incendiary comments on Wednesday have been blamed for directly provoking violence from the mob which stormed the building in a failed attempt to overturn the US election result and prevent Joe Biden taking to the White House.
In his first public speech addressing the issue, Johnson told a Downing Street press conference on Thursday: “All my life, America has stood for some very important things, an idea of freedom, an idea of democracy.
“In so far as he encouraged people to storm the Capitol and in so far as the president has constantly cast doubt on the outcome of a free and fair election… I believe that was completely wrong.
“What President Trump has been saying about that has been completely wrong. I unreservedly condemn encouraging people to behave in the disgraceful way that they did in the Capitol.
“All I can say is I am very pleased the president elect [Biden] has now been properly confirmed in office and that democracy has prevailed.”
During his one-and-a-half years as prime minister, Johnson has previously been reluctant to criticise Trump and appeared to enjoy a warm relationship with the president.
In June last year, for example, the PM refused to condemn Trump for his controversial response to anti-racism protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.
As London mayor in 2015, however, Johnson hit out at the then presidential candidate after Trump said parts of the capital are “so radicalised that the police are afraid for their own lives”.
In his response, Johnson dismissed the claims as “simply ridiculous” and “the only reason I wouldn't go to some parts of New York [Trump’s base] is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump”.
In the violent scenes on Wednesday, Trump supporters breached barricades and staged an occupation of the Capitol building in Washington DC.
Demonstrators forced their way inside after a rally was held near the White House where Trump encouraged them to march on Capitol Hill.
It came as Congress was meeting in the building to certify Biden’s victory from November’s election.
Four people died, including one woman, reportedly a Trump supporter, who was shot inside the Capitol. The three other people died after “medical emergencies”, police chiefs said. No further details have been given.
Johnson’s comments came after Facebook blocked Trump “indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks” following the rioting.
The social network’s boss Mark Zuckerberg said it was clear that Trump intended to use his remaining two weeks in office “to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden”.
Trump’s personal Twitter account was also temporarily suspended, forcing him to release a statement via his social media director Dan Scavino in which he said there would be an “orderly transition” to the Biden administration while repeating that he “totally disagrees with the outcome of the election”.
Pressure is now on Twitter to follow Facebook’s lead, having only decided to lock Trump’s account for 12 hours and threatened him with “permanent suspension” if he continues to break the rules.
Watch: Moment Trump encouraged supporters to go to the Capitol