President Joe Biden commemorated the first anniversary of the Capitol riot in Washington DC on Thursday in a blistering speech which was live-streamed across the world.
Biden recalled the events of one year ago, telling his listeners to close their eyes and try to remember what they had seen that day. Biden said riots in the Capitol hadn’t even happened during the Civil War.
Recalling Abraham Lincoln, Biden stated, “who sat under a picture of Clio, the Muse of History… she stood watch over this hall, as she does today, recording what took place during the Civil War.” She recorded “The real facts, the real truth. Like the Bible says, ‘you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.'”
He related that some in the vast crowd outside the Capitol on January 6, 2021 erected a mockup of a gallows that was meant to hang Vice President Mike Pence. Some in the crowd, which had been part of a much larger, mostly peaceful demonstration that day, were angry that the Vice President would act to certify the results of the Electoral College, as is called for as part of his Constitutional duties.
Capitol riot first of its kind in American history
Meanwhile, Biden stated, the former President, who he said “rallied the mob to attack” was “watching it all on television, doing nothing for hours while the nation’s capital was under siege.” Indeed, it has been revealed in a Congressional investigation into the riot that a number of individuals, including his son, Donald Trump, Jr. and his daughter, Ivanka, had messaged Trump, imploring him to do something to quell the riot — all to no avail.
Eventually, later in the afternoon, after the Capital building had been breached, Trump did appear on television, giving a lukewarm admonition to the demonstrators to cease and desist.
Biden went on to call the riot “an armed insurrection.” Five people died either shortly before, during, or following the event: one was shot by Capitol Police, another died of a drug overdose, and three died of natural causes. Many people were injured, including 138 police officers. Four officers who responded to the attack died by suicide within seven months.
Biden stated that the investigation into the events of that day must continue, saying “This is about the past not being buried. That’s what great nations do. They don’t bury the truth, they face up to it.
“We must be absolutely clear about what is truth and what is a lie. A former President has created and spread a web of lies about the outcome of the 2020 election,” Biden charged. “He sees his own interest as more important than that of the country.
“He cannot accept his loss. He has done what no American president has done in American history — refused to accept the results of an election.” Speaking of Republicans, the President said that party no longer “seems to want to be the party of Abraham Lincoln,” although he added quickly that he does want to work with Republicans to try to find a way forward out of the political gridlock that has stymied the nation’s political process of late.
“Are we going to be a nation where we have partisan officials try to overturn the result of elections? We cannot allow ourselves to be part of such a nation,” Biden stated. “The big lie being told by the former President is that the insurrection actually took place on Election Day, November 3,” Biden said. In other words, that the people tried to take power into their own hands on that day and that was the real insurrection.
“Another big lie that Trump is telling,” Biden charged, is that the “results of the 2020 election can’t be trusted …the truth is that no election in American history has been more heavily scrutinized.” The President went on to note that some of the results of the election had been affirmed in courts under judges who had been appointed by Trump himself.
Furthermore, Biden said that Trump had preemptively cast doubt on the results of the upcoming election even before November of 2020, in an attempt to weaken the belief in full and fair elections. “He’s not just the former president, he is a defeated president,” Biden declared.
Biden stated near the end of his speech that he believed that “January 6 can begin a Renaissance of liberty and fair play” in the country, adding “We will make sure that the will of the American people is heard. Here in America, the people rule through the ballot,” concluding his remarks by stating “We are one nation under God, indivisible. May God bless those who stand watch for our democracy.”
Speaking just before him, Vice President Kamala Harris had cautioned that if we do not defend democracy, “it will father and fail.”
Remembering the events of January 6 last year, she stated that when she returned to the Senate chamber after the voters had been cleared out, she was most impressed with the Senators’ “resolve to certify the election and their loyalty to the Constitution of the United States” in calmly continuing to count the electoral votes that eventually showed the election of Joe Biden as President.
“For the first time in history,” she stated, “a president not only just lost an election but tried to precent the peaceful transition of power.
“It must never, never happen again,” she warned.
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