“One year ago today, in this sacred place, democracy was attacked, simply attacked,” President Joe Biden began from the Capitol’s Statuary Hall marking in a speech marking the anniversary of Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Biden did not mince words about who was to blame for the riot.
“For the first time in our history, a president had not just lost an election, he tried to prevent a peaceful transition of power as a violent mob reached the Capitol,” Biden said. “But they failed. They failed. On this day of remembrance, we must make sure that such an attack never, never happens again.”
“We saw with our own eyes rioters menace these halls, threatening the life of the speaker of the House, literally erecting gallows to hang the vice president of the United States of America,” he continued. “What did we not see? We didn’t see a former president who had just rallied the mob to attack, sitting in a private dining room off the Oval Office in the White House, watching it all on television and doing nothing for hours as police were assaulted, lives at risk, the nation’s Capitol under siege. This wasn’t a group of tourists. This was an armed insurrection.”
Former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said on CNN earlier on Thursday that Trump “gleefully” watched the riot unfold.
Biden continued to attack Trump and his Big Lie that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. “My fellow Americans, in life there’s truth and, tragically, there are lies — lies conceived and spread for profit and power,” he said. “We must be absolutely clear about what is true and what is a lie, and here’s the truth: the former president of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election. He’s done so because he values power over principle, because he sees his own interests as more powerful than his country’s interests. Because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution.”
"Here's the truth. The former president of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election," President Biden says.
"Because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our constitution. He can't accept he lost." pic.twitter.com/rmsdrnBvXC
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) January 6, 2022
“He can’t accept he lost, even though that’s what 93 United States senators, his own vice president, governors and state officials in every battleground state have all said,” Biden continued. “He lost. That’s what 81 million of you did as you voted for a new way forward. He has done what no president in American history, the history of this country has ever done. He refused to accept the results of the election and the will of the people.”
Trump’s lies have brought the nation to a crossroads, Biden said: “And so at this moment we must decide what kind of nation we are going to be. Are we going to be a nation that accepts political violence as a norm? Or are we going to be a nation where we allow partisan election officials to overturn the legally expressed will of the people? Are we going to be a nation that lives not by the light of the truth but in the shadow of lies? We cannot allow ourselves to be that kind of nation. The way forward is to recognize the truth and to live by it.”
Biden then pointed to the former president’s supporters “who are trying to rewrite history.”
“They want you to see election day as the insurrection, and the riot that took place here on Jan. 6 as a true expression of the will of the people,” he said. “Can you think of a more twisted way to look at this country, to look at America? I cannot.”
Referring back to Trump, Biden said he was “not just a former president,” he is a “defeated former president,” and defended the results of the 2020 election, noting that Trump has failed at every legal electoral challenge. He also pointed out the hypocrisy in Trump and his supporters who “have never been able to explain how they accept as accurate the other election results that took place on Nov. 3 — the elections for governor, United States Senate, House of Representatives — elections in which they closed the gap in the House. They challenged none of that.”
Biden also spoke about the people who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, saying, “The former president, who lies about this election, and the mob that attacked this Capitol could not be further away from the core American values. They want to rule or they will ruin.”
The president concluded, “We are in a battle for the soul of America, a battle that, by the grace of God and the goodness and greatness of this nation, we will win. Believe me, I know how difficult democracy is. I’m crystal clear about the threats America faces, but I also know that our darkest days can lead to light and hope,” adding, “I will stand in this breech, I will defend this nation, and I will allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of democracy.”
As he spoke, former President Trump released a statement accusing Biden of “destroying our nation with insane policies of open Borders, corrupt Elections, disastrous energy policies, unconstitutional mandates, and devastating school closures.” The president, Trump said, “used my name today to try to further divide America.”
Biden, although he referred to the former president multiple times, did not actually mention Trump by name.