Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

President-elect Joe Biden speaks during an event at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Jan. 8, 2021, to announce key administration posts.

Susan Walsh/The Associated Press

President-elect Joe Biden said Friday that President Donald Trump isn’t “fit for the job,” but he repeatedly refused to endorse growing Democratic calls to impeach him a second time.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to members of her chamber that lawmakers could move as early as next week to impeach Trump for inciting a violent mob that overran the U.S. Capitol if the president didn’t “immediately” resign. Pelosi and Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer also have called on Vice-President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to force Trump from office – a process for stripping the president of his post and installing the vice-president to take over.

Addressing reporters in his home state of Delaware, Biden noted that a key reason he ran for president was because he’d “thought for a long, long time that President Trump wasn’t fit for the job.”

Story continues below advertisement

“I’ve been saying for now, well, over a year, he’s not fit to serve,” Biden said. “He’s one of the most incompetent presidents in the history of the United States of America.”

But he refused to back efforts to remove Trump from the White House and insisted that impeachment was up to Congress. Instead, Biden said he was focused on the start of his own administration on Jan. 20, and he said his top three priorities are beating back the coronavirus, distributing vaccines fairly and equitably and reviving the struggling economy.

His comments laid bare the political balance Biden has worked to strike in the months since winning the presidential election. He has continued to sharply criticize Trump and nearly every facet of his administration but also worked to keep the public’s attention focused on what the new administration will do rather than indulging recriminations against the last one.

Biden nonetheless conceded that Trump “exceeded my worst notions about him. He’s been an embarrassment” and likened the “damage done to our reputation around the world” to “tin horn dictatorships.” The president-elect also suggested that a key hurdle to removing Trump was that he has less than two weeks remaining in his term.

“If we were six months out, we should be doing everything to get him out of office. Impeaching him again, trying to evoke the 25th Amendment, whatever it took,” Biden said. “But I am focused now on us taking control as president and vice-president on the 20th and to get our agenda moving as quickly as we can.”

Trump would be the only president to be impeached twice. The House impeached him in late 2019, but the Republican-led Senate acquitted him. Removal from office could also prevent Trump from running for president in 2024, or ever holding the presidency again.

Most Democrats, and many Republicans, put the blame squarely on Trump after hundreds of protesters broke into the Capitol on Wednesday and caused destruction and mass evacuations. The president had urged his supporters to protest as Congress was counting the electoral votes that confirmed Biden’s win. Five people died, including a Capitol Police officer.

Story continues below advertisement

Biden on Friday called what happened a “god-awful debacle” and said it had “the active encouragement of the president of the United States.”

Biden’s comments came hours after Trump tweeted that he planned to skip Biden’s inauguration, becoming the first president in more than 150 years – and just the fourth in U.S. history – to do so. Pence is planning to attend and Biden said he’d be “honoured” to have him there but didn’t feel the same way about Trump.

The president skipping the event is “one of the few things he and I have ever agreed on,” Biden said. “It’s a good thing him not showing up.”

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies