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A year after U.S. Capitol siege, Biden blasts Trump’s ‘web of lies’

A year after U.S. Capitol siege, Biden blasts Trump's 'web of lies'
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  • Biden speaking at the US Capitol, not mentioning Trump’s name
  • Trump accuses Biden of trying to divide the country
  • Republican Cheney regrets Trump’s ‘personality cult’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden on Thursday accused his predecessor Donald Trump of spreading a “web of lies” to undermine American democracy in a speech commemorating the bloody Capitol attack by Trump supporters who tried to reverse his 2020 decision. Election defeat.

Speaking in the white-domed building where rioters smashed windows, attacked police and sent lawmakers to run for their lives on January 6, 2021, Biden said Trump’s false allegations that the elections were stolen from him through widespread vote rigging could undermine the rule of law. sabotage future elections.

“A former president of the United States of America created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election,” Biden said. “He did it because he values ​​strength over principle.” “He can’t accept his loss.”

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Biden never said his predecessor’s name during the 25-minute speech, telling reporters afterward that he was trying to focus on threats to the American political system rather than Trump himself.

The tone, including twitching at “Trump’s ego,” was a departure from Biden, who had focused for most of his first year in office on pursuing his own agenda. Trump issued three statements in the hours following his successor’s accusing Biden of trying to divide the country and repeating his false election claims.

Trump’s behavior over the past year, like his behavior in office, has been rule-breaking. Unlike previous US presidents who have denied re-election, Trump has refused to accept the electorate’s verdict and has pressured fellow Republicans to somehow nullify the results, without success.

His false allegations provided cover for statewide Republicans to pass new voting restrictions they said were necessary to combat fraud. Research shows that such fraud is extremely rare in US elections.

Biden’s Democratic colleagues, a few Republicans, and several independent experts have said Trump’s continued denials may make future US power transfers less likely to be peaceful — especially those involving margins closer than the 2020 election that Biden won by seven million votes. nationally.

The speech made clear that Biden and other Democrats remain wary of Trump’s political survival. In the immediate aftermath of the riots, some Republicans even thought his grip on their party was shaken, but Trump has since tightened it.

“Our democracy is very fragile, and the cult of the Great Lie still operates largely with the help of the vast majority of our colleagues on the other side, who continue to try to rewrite or ignore history,” Democratic Representative Pramila Jayapal said at an afternoon event.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led dozens of assembled Democrats who turned off their lights in a moment of silence on the steps of the Capitol, part of a candlelight prayer vigil that was the last official event on the anniversary.

Not far away, he did not attend the vigil at the US capital’s prison for about 40 inmates accused in connection with the January 6 attack.

US President Joe Biden speaks at Statuary Hall on the first anniversary of the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, January 6, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarck

L said. a. Warren, 65, who drove to Washington from his home in Michigan all day, said he also participated in the storming of the Capitol: “This is not quick justice.” “A year, that’s a long time, when these people–many of them, in my opinion–were trespassing.”

‘personality cult’

Only two Republicans were spotted at a House hearing marking the anniversary of the riots: Representative Liz Cheney, who was ostracized by her party colleagues after criticizing Trump, and her father, Dick Cheney, who served as Vice President under President George W. Bush.

“A party that enslaves to the cult of personality is a party that is a danger to the country,” Liz Cheney told reporters on her way out of the Capitol.

Dick Cheney told reporters that the current party leaders are unlike “any of the people I know” when he served in Congress.

America’s next federal election takes place in November, with Republicans favoring a majority in at least one chamber of both houses of Congress. That could cripple Biden’s ability to advance politics and set the stage for two years of legislative deadlock ahead of a potential Biden-Trump rematch in 2024.

According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, 55% of Republican voters believe Trump’s false allegations, which have been rejected by dozens of courts, government election districts and members of his administration.

Four people died in the hours-long chaos after Trump urged supporters to march to the Capitol and “fight like fire.” A police officer died that day after fighting the rioters and four later died by suicide. About 140 police officers were injured. US prosecutors have brought criminal charges against at least 725 people linked to the riots.

Trump remains popular with Republican voters and is shaping the field for Republican candidates in the November 8 congressional elections.

Most Republican officials remained loyal to him, and some sought to downplay the riots. Liz Cheney is one of only two Republican members of a House committee investigating the riots, which in recent weeks has revealed records showing Trump allies urging him to eliminate the rioters as the offensive began.

Other Republicans accused Democrats of using the anniversary for partisan gains.

“What a shameless politicization of President Biden on January 6,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, who has reversed his stance on Trump several times, including criticizing him after the riots and then returning to his defense.

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(Additional reporting by Andy Sullivan and Richard Cowan) Additional reporting by Moira Warburton, McKinney Price, Jason Lange and Susan Heffy; Written by James Oliphant. Editing by Will Dunham, Scott Malone, Grant McCall and Margarita Choi

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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