HAMILTON (Mercer) — After holding back his criticism of President Donald Trump during the pandemic, Gov. Phil Murphy said the events at the Capitol on Wednesday were "an act of domestic terrorism spurred on by the president himself and his minions."

Speaking at Carella's Chocolates & Gifts before the signing of the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act, Murphy said it was Trump's inability to accept the election result that was to blame for the protest which left four people dead and over a dozen arrested.

"His years of lies and willful misinformation created this. His belief that the laws don't apply to him created this. His spewing of unfounded conspiracy theories created this. His unwillingness to understand even the basic precepts of the constitution created this," Murphy said, adding that he was glad Congress was able to complete the task of certifying the Electoral College votes from each state after midnight.

"In less than two weeks, the renewal of America will begin in earnest" as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are sworn into office on Jan. 20, Murphy said.

He called for all who "tried to overthrow the election" of Biden and Harris to be identified and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for "desecrating the cradle of American democracy."

"They are not patriots. They are the anthesis of what it means to be an American," Murphy said.

The FBI has set up a page on its website to collect information to help identify “individuals who are actively instigating violence in Washington, D.C.”

President Donald Trump for the first time acknowledged his defeat in the Nov. 3 election and announced there would be an “orderly transition on January 20th” after Congress concluded the electoral vote count early Thursday certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

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The statement was the first time Trump formally acknowledged his loss after spending the last two months refusing to concede and lobbing baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud, even though his own Justice Department, federal courts and state governments have said repeatedly the vote was carried out freely and fairly.

Trump's refusal to accept reality and his incendiary rhetoric reached a breaking point Wednesday when his supporters violently occupied the Capitol in one of the most jarring scenes ever to unfold in a seat of American political power. Authorities said four people died during the violence, including one woman who was shot by an officer outside the House chamber.

Trump had encouraged his supporters to march on the Capitol to protest lawmakers’ actions, and later appeared to excuse the violent occupation by the mob, which forced its way inside and clashed with police.

Murphy on Wednesday called the protests "an attempted coup" on "one of the darkest days in American history" and called on Trump to condemn the protests.

Murphy also said on Thursday a total of 74 armed State Police troopers were sent to Washington and were on patrol at the Capital building in the early morning hours as the Electoral College was certified.

He also announced that 500 members of the New Jersey National Guard were sent to Washington "to protect our democracy and facilitate the peaceful transition of power" and will remain on duty through Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.

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