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Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama said Wednesday the violence at the U.S. Capitol was a "moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation," but he added: "we'd be kidding ourselves if we treated it as a total surprise."

Details: Obama didn't hold back in who was to blame in his statement on the insurrection, noting history would "rightly remember" that it was "incited by a sitting president who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election."

  • He also didn't hold back in pointing the finger at Republicans and their "accompanying ecosystem" who had "too often been unwilling to tell their followers the truth," that the presidential election was "not a particularly close" one and that President-elect Biden will be inaugurated on January 20.
  • "Republican leaders have a choice made clear in the desecrated chambers of democracy," he said. "They can continue down this road and keep stoking the raging fires. Or they can choose reality and take the first steps toward extinguishing the flames. They can choose America."

Of note: Obama said he had been "heartened to see many members of the President’s party speak up forcefully" against Wednesday's violence.

  • "Their voices add to the examples of Republican state and local election officials in states like Georgia who've refused to be intimidated and have discharged their duties honorably," he said, in a nod to the intimidation officials like Georgia's Republican Secretary of State had received from Trump supporters and the president himself.

The bottom line: "We need more leaders like these — right now and in the days, weeks, and months ahead as President-Elect Biden works to restore a common purpose to our politics. It’s up to all of us as Americans, regardless of party, to support him in that goal."

Go deeper: Former presidents denounce "insurrection" at U.S. Capitol

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details on Obama's comments and further context.

Go deeper

McConnell: Trump "provoked" Capitol mob

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was "provoked by the president and other powerful people."

Why it matters: Trump was impeached by the House last week for "incitement of insurrection." McConnell has not said how he will vote in Trump's coming Senate impeachment trial, but sources told Axios' Mike Allen that the chances of him voting to convict are higher than 50%.

Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness ... Trump: "Sometimes you need a little crazy"

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

Scoop: Google is investigating the actions of another top AI ethicist

Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Photo by Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google is investigating recent actions by Margaret Mitchell, who helps lead the company's ethical AI team, Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: The probe follows the forced exit of Timnit Gebru, a prominent researcher also on the AI ethics team at Google whose ouster ignited a firestorm among Google employees.