President Joe Biden gave remarks Thursday on the anniversary of the Capitol insurrection
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke to the American public Thursday, marking the first anniversary of the US Capitol insurrection, the deadly assault on the US Capitol by supporters of former president Donald Trump that raised concerns over the future of American democracy.
From the National Statuary Hall, near the rotunda the attack took place, Harris and Biden spoke of the threat facing the nation’s democracy. They warned that democracy remains at risk even a year after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, trying to stop congress from certifying Biden’s election.
‘One year ago today in this sacred place, democracy was attacked,’ Biden said. ‘The will of the people was under assault. The constitution, our constitution, faced the gravest of threats.’
Biden continued: ‘For the first time in our history, a president had not just lost an election, he tried to prevent a peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob breached the Capitol.’
Upon taking the podium, he asked those listening to close their eyes and recall what they saw that day, as he described the deadly, violent day: the mob attacking Capitol police officers, threatening House speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying they hope to hang the vice president – all while then-President Donald Trump sat in the White House, watching the catastrophic events play out on television.
Biden outlined the ‘singular responsibility’ Trump has for the deadly violence of the day, saying the former president ‘created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election.’
Biden also made the point that supporters of the former president claim the election was stolen, but 93 United States Senators, Trump’s own Attorney General and Vice President, and governors and state officials in every battleground state have concluded that Biden won.
In her speech, which came before Biden’s, Harris also spoke of the need for greater voting rights. She called on the US Senate to pass the freedom to vote act and the John Lewis voting rights advancement act.
Beginning the morning remarks, Harris stated that the American strength is ‘being tested.’
‘The strength of democracy is that it empowers people, and the fragility of democracy is this. If we are not vigilant. If we do not defend it. Democracy simply will not stand. It will falter and it will fail.’
Harris, who was still a senator on the day of the attack, spoke of how her staff was forced to convert filing cabinets into barricades as the angry mob of former president Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol.
‘What the extremists who roamed these halls targeted was not just the lives of elected leaders,’ Harris said. ‘What they sought to degrade and destroy was not only a building, hallowed as it is. What they were assaulting were the institutions, the values, the ideas that generations of Americans have marched, picketed and shed blood to establish and defend,’ Harris said.
January 6 now lives on as one of the worst days in American history, Harris said, likening the attack to Pearl Harbor and 9/11.
A series of remembrance events are set to take place during the day, and will be widely attended by Democrats, however, almost every Republican on Capitol Hill will be absent. While congressional Republicans largely condemned the attack in the days following, most have stayed loyal to the former president.
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