Australia’s acting prime minister has referred to the storming of the US Congress by rioting Trump fans that killed five people as merely ‘unfortunate’.
Outgoing US President Donald Trump is facing calls to resign amid accusations he incited the mob at a rally minutes before the crowd marched on the Capitol.
Mr McCormack made the controversial comments just hours after taking over from Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is on holiday for a week.
Michael McCormack failed to condemn the extraordinary violence in Washington DC (pictured) on Thursday and instead likened them to the Black Lives Matter protests
The acting prime minister (pictured) has referred to the storming of the US Congress by rioting Trump fans that killed five people as merely ‘unfortunate’
Asked if Mr Trump helped incite the riot Mr McCormack said the president’s social media comments were ‘unfortunate’, as was his refusal to accept the outcome of the US election.
But though he was hesitant to call out the shocking incident which was labelled as an act of insurrection by some American lawmakers, he was quick to lash out at Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for banning President Trump from the platform.
The US president was removed from the three social media sites, among many others, after posting messages the technology giants said could encourage violence.
‘I don’t believe in that sort of censorship,’ he told ABC radio on Monday.
‘There’s been a lot of people who have said and done a lot of things on Twitter previously that haven’t received that sort of condemnation or indeed censorship.’
He compared the the riot at the Capitol Building to Black Lives Matter protests last year and said it should not be up to Big Tech to decide whose voices were heard.
‘It is unfortunate that we have seen the events at Capitol Hill, that we’ve seen in recent days – similar to those race riots that we saw around the country last year,’ he said.
‘These are unfortunate events and of course many people don’t remember how you rode the horse – they remember how you dismount the horse. And it is unfortunate that this has occurred.
‘But as far as Donald Trump and his presidency is concerned, and the last few days of his administration, well that’s entirely a matter for the United States of America.’
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they try to storm the US Capitol surrounded by tear gas in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021
The protesters violently clashed with police in a bid to stop Joe Biden’s election victory being certified
Dozens of police have also reportedly been injured and a woman has been shot
Riot police clear the hallway inside the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan 6, 2021 in Washington, DC
The acting prime minister also acknowledged social media companies were within their rights as private companies to close accounts if they see fit.
His comments were in stark contrast with opposition leader Anthony Albanese who said it was ‘about time’ those who ‘spread hatred and lies on social media’ were de-platformed.
‘We know where mistruths lead. We’ve seen it in the United States,’ he said.
‘This idea that you can say whatever you want, that there aren’t any facts, that we’re in a post-truth world, is extremely dangerous. Extremely dangerous.’
‘And the fact that we saw last week an attempted insurrection against democracy, which was encouraged, of course, by Donald Trump, is quite frankly shocking.
‘These were armed people. Five people lost their lives. But it could have been much, much worse. There could have been, literally, just catastrophic consequences.’
Liberal Party MP Craig Kelly, in the wake of the Capitol riots took to Facebook to claim it was a ‘false flag’ event carried out ‘neo-Fascists and Marxists’ to discredit Trump supporters.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese said it’s about time those who spread hatred and lies on social media are de-platformed (pictured with wife Carmel Tebbutt at the 2018 Mid Winter Ball)
Liberal MP George Christensen (pictured) claims President Trump is being censored by ‘left win media’ an ‘tech tyrants’
Liberal MP George Christensen peddled misinformation being spread by supporters of Mr Trump after the US election was called for Joe Biden
Meanwhile, fellow Liberal MP George Christensen peddled misinformation being spread by supporters of Mr Trump after the US election was called for Joe Biden.
He claimed Democrats ‘cheated’ and spouted that President Trump is being censored by ‘left win media’ an ‘tech tyrants’.
Mr Christensen said ‘masks and lockdowns don’t work’ to control Covid outbreaks.
Mr Albanese took aim at Mr McCormack and Prime Minister Scott Morrison for not condemning ‘conspiracy theories’ promoted by Coalition members.
‘I just think the fact that, when Scott Morrison is asked about this, he responds by talking about freedom of speech and hasn’t condemned Craig Kelly or George Christensen or any of the others who have promoted the conspiracy theories that these weren’t Donald Trump supporters, that they were infiltrated by outsiders and as part of some conspiracy,’ he said with disgust.
Australia’s competition watchdog has called for clearer rules to determine what content is acceptable on social media.
But Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, a senior member of the government’s leadership team, ruled out censoring fellow party members.
‘George Christensen will make decisions he is accountable for,’ Mr Frydenberg told the ABC. ‘He is a member of the coalition, he is a good local member for his constituency.’
Mr Frydenberg said the prime minister spoke for the whole country and the government in expressing disgust about what happened at Congress in Washington DC, describing it as an attack on the beacon of democracy.
Capitol police officers point their guns at a door that was vandalized in the House Chamber during a joint session of Congress
Members of congress run for cover as protesters try to enter the House Chamber
A protester walks through Congress carrying Nancy Pelosi’s lectern after storming the Capitol
A woman was shot inside the US Capitol on Wednesday afternoon shortly after President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the building and violently clashed with police