US President-elect Joe Biden appeared on television last week as a bipartisan group of lawmakers huddled in an undisclosed location to protect themselves from a violent mob that was ransacking the US Capitol.
"The whole room went silent," Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, recalled as everyone listened to Biden denounce the insurrection and call for calm.
The respectful manner in which the lawmakers listened to Biden during one of America's darkest moments gave Klobuchar hope that the new president has an opportunity to guide the country past the tumultuous final stretch of Donald Trump's presidency.
That's quickly becoming one of Biden's top tasks as he prepares to take office on January 20. It's an immensely complex challenge, requiring him to balance demands for accountability after Trump incited the riot against those who worry about further dividing the country.
Any misstep could not only intensify the nation's polarization, but threaten Biden's ability to win quick congressional approval of his Cabinet picks and other priorities such as coronavirus response legislation.
For now, Biden seems content to leave decisions about Trump's fate to Congress.
"What the Congress decides to do is for them to decide," Biden told reporters last week. "But I'm going to have to and they're going to have to be ready to hit the ground running, because when Kamala (Harris) and I are sworn in, we're going to be introducing, immediately, significant pieces of legislation that will deal with the virus, deal with the economy, and deal with economic growth." Two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania, have called on Trump to resign.