BRUSSELS — The head of NATO said Thursday that all those responsible for last week’s deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol should be held accountable, and he expressed confidence that American institutions are up to the job.

“Democracy must always prevail over violence, and I’m confident that the democratic institutions of the United States will handle this challenge,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels.

The storming of the Capitol as lawmakers were certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory resulted in the deaths of five people. In impeaching President Donald Trump Wednesday for inciting the mob that broke into the building, several U.S. lawmakers insisted that Trump posed a “clear and present danger.”

Stoltenberg, a former prime minister of Norway, said that what happened in Washington last week is “absolutely unacceptable.” He said it “was shocking, and the outcome of the election has to be respected and we have to make sure that our democratic values are fully respected.”

The United States is by far the biggest and most influential member of NATO, but Trump has surprised and routinely confounded many allies by berating them over defense spending or taking unilateral actions such as pulling U.S. troops out of Afghanistan and northern Syria.

Stoltenberg did not mention Trump by name, focusing instead on the incoming administration.

“I look forward to a peaceful transition, and I look forward to working with Joe Biden,” Stoltenberg said, adding that the president-elect “is strongly committed to our trans-Atlantic cooperation, to NATO, and I know that he also of course strongly supports the idea of further strengthening the cooperation between North America and Europe.”

Hundreds of National Guard members are camped out at the Capitol to protect lawmakers, some still reeling from the violence and preparing for Biden’s inauguration next week.

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