House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said that pro-Trump rioters who breached the Capitol on Wednesday "chose their Whiteness over Democracy."
"It has been an epiphany for the world to see that there are people in our country led by this president, for the moment, who have chosen their Whiteness over democracy," the speaker said.
Pelosi then turned to those who died from COVID-19, who were disproportionately minorities, she said.
"When that assault was taking place on the Capitol, 3,865 people in our country died of the coronavirus, many of them people of color because of the injustice of it all," Pelosi said.
"The next day, on Thursday, 4,000 people died of the coronavirus. Why? Because decisions were made at the highest level, months before in the Oval Office, of denial, distortion, delay, calling it a ‘hoax.’"
Pelosi is expected to again lead the House through a round of impeachment for the president in connection to the riot in the Capitol.
The impeachment document says Trump "willfully made statements that encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — imminent lawless action at the Capitol."
The House, after getting 185 co-sponsors, will propose impeachment Monday, though it’s unlikely to get through the Senate. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell noted the Senate is in recess until Jan.19.
Pelosi pointed to the riot’s date, the Christian Feast of the Epiphany, Jan. 6.
"I thought it was going to be an epiphany for those who were in opposition of our democracy to see the light," Pelosi said. "Instead, it was an epiphany for the world to see that there are people in our country, led by this president, for the moment, who have chosen their Whiteness over democracy. That’s what this is about."
She said the president’s "complicity" in the riots that sent lawmakers into hiding and left five dead "cannot be exaggerated."
"The instigation of the President of the United States, must and will be addressed," Pelosi finished. "It’s only a number of days now before we inaugurate a new president."
Trump on Wednesday gave a speech at the "Save America" rally before pandemonium broke out. He vowed he would "never concede" and pressured Vice President Mike Pence to give the election "back to the states" in the joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College results.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.