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Biden condemns Trump as a threat to democracy in speech marking one year since January 6 attack

Biden condemns Trump as a threat to democracy in speech marking one year since January 6 attack
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Biden said in a speech from the US Capitol that lasted less than 30 minutes. “But they failed. They failed. And on this Memorial Day, we must make sure that such an attack never happens again.”

“His aching pride matters more to him than our democracy or our constitution, and he cannot accept his loss,” Biden added, in a live shot of Trump.

Biden has usually avoided speaking directly about his predecessor since taking office, and did not explicitly mention his name on Thursday — instead making more than a dozen references to the “former president.”

But the president’s stinging speech nevertheless confronted the lies of Trump’s election and his behavior after the presidency, accusing him of spreading lies about the 2020 election, refusing to accept defeat and holding him accountable for inciting a violent mob of his supporters to storm the US Capitol.

“A former president of the United States of America created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election. He did it because he values ​​strength over principle, because he sees his own interest more important than the interest of his country and those of America,” Biden said.

Biden once again emphasized the core message of his 2020 presidential campaign and why he’s running against Trump: “We are in a battle for the soul of America.”

The president warned that democracy and “America’s promise” were at stake and called on the American public to “stand by the rule of law to keep the flame of democracy alive.”

He called for voting rights to be protected across the country and criticized Trump and his supporters for trying to “suppress your vote and undermine our elections.”

“This is wrong,” Biden said. “He’s undemocratic. And frankly, he’s not American.”

His comments come as Democrats make renewed efforts to get two voting rights bills — the John Lewis Voting Rights Enhancement Act and the Freedom of Voting Act — passed in the Senate. These two pieces of legislation were introduced in response to Republicans enacting laws across the country, making it difficult for people to vote after record turnout in the 2020 elections. Almost all Republicans in Congress oppose the legislation and it is not clear whether Democrats will be able to pass the bills.

“Now let’s move on and write the next chapter in American history, because January 6th does not mark the end of democracy, but rather the beginning of a renaissance of freedom and equity,” Biden said.

After his speech, Biden defended Trump’s plea in this direct way when a reporter asked him if he thought going after the former president “would divide more than heal.”

The chief replied, “The way you should heal, you have to realize the extent of the wound. You cannot pretend. These are serious matters.”

“You have to confront it,” Biden said. “That’s what great nations do. They face the truth, they deal with it, they move forward.”

memorial day

The events of January 6, 2021 led to Trump’s second impeachment by the House of Representatives. The mutiny launched the largest investigation in FBI history, with 700 people arrested and hundreds of perpetrators still at large. A select committee in the House of Representatives continues to investigate the events that led to the riots. Two Trump allies – Mark Meadows and Steve Bannon – have been held in criminal contempt for refusing to cooperate with commission investigators after they were summoned.

On Capitol Hill, a series of events organized by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will take place after Biden’s January 6 anniversary speech, including a moment of silence on the House floor and testimony from lawmakers about the horrific attack.

Carter warns America not to teeter on the brink of a widening abyss.  In a stark editorial before January 6

The events of the insurgency occurred just two weeks before Biden’s inauguration, casting a shadow over the new president’s administration. And despite a slew of court cases, failed state election audits, and countless conspiracy allegations, many Trump supporters continued to doubt the legitimacy of Biden’s presidency.

In his remarks, Biden said he did not ask to be president at a time when America’s founding principles were under attack, but was ready to fight back.

“I will stand up to this violation. I will defend this nation. I will not allow anyone to put a dagger in the throat of democracy,” Biden said.

The president also praised the police officers who stood against the attack for their adherence to the nation’s way of life.

“A year ago today in this holy place, democracy was attacked — simply attacked. The will of the people was attacked, the constitution — our constitution — faced the gravest threats. Outnumbered in the face of a brutal onslaught, I saved the Capitol Police, the Metropolitan Police Department, the National Guard and others from Brave law enforcement officials, the rule of law, our democracy has persevered, we the people have endured, and we the people have prevailed.

Speaking to Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris said, “On January 6, we all saw what our nation would look like if the forces that seek to dismantle our democracy succeeded: chaos, violence, and chaos.”

Harris added, “When I meet young people, they often ask about the state of our democracy. On January 6, what I tell them is: January 6 reflects the dual nature of democracy. Its fragility and strength.” “You see, the strength of democracy is the rule of law.”

While Trump was expected to hold a scheduled press conference on the anniversary of the uprising, it was abruptly canceled. The allies warned that this would cause unnecessary problems for the Republicans and for him.

Instead of his Thursday press conference, Trump is expected to voice his grievances at a campaign rally in Arizona next week.

Lawmakers and Historians to Commemorate

At the end of December, Pelosi announced the list of events at the Capitol to mark the one-year anniversary of the deadly attack.

In a letter to Democrats, Pelosi wrote that the events “are intended to be a revival of reflection, remembrance and recommitment in a spirit of unity, patriotism, and prayer.”

At noon, prayer and a minute of silence will be held on the floor of the house. Then a moderated conversation will take place between historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and John Meacham. Pelosi’s letter stated that the discussion would serve to “establish and preserve the January 6 narrative.”

Then, lawmakers will have time to provide testimonies to “share their everyday thoughts.” Colorado Representative Jason Crowe will chair the testimony. Crowe was one of the legislators Trapped in the house room During the attack, famous photos surfaced of her crouching to the aid of a colleague who appeared to be in distress.
“Trauma, any trauma, affects everyone,” Crowe, a former Army ranger, told CNN shortly after the attack. “No one is immune to it and everyone responds to it differently.”

Later, a prayer vigil will be held on the central steps of the Capitol where members of the House and Senate can participate.

While congressional Democrats put out an entire day of events to draw attention to what happened during the rebellion, congressional Republicans, by contrast, seemed reluctant to talk much about it and particularly reluctant to address Trump’s role.

In a letter to House Republicans at the start of the new year, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy briefly mentioned the January 6 anniversary, but made no mention of the former president.

“The actions of that day were lawless and as wrong as they could be. The Capitol should never be compromised, and those who broke the law deserve to face legal repercussions and full accountability,” he wrote.

McCarthy then turned to criticizing the Democrats.

“Unfortunately, one year later, it seems that the majority party has not come close to answering the central question of how to leave the Capitol unprepared and what needs to be done to ensure that this does not happen again. Instead, they are using it as a partisan political weapon in order to “More division in our country.”

GOP leaders will not be at the Capitol on Thursday with the House of Representatives out of session and a number of Republican senators heading to Georgia for a memorial service for the late Senator Johnny Isaacson.

CNN’s Phil Mattingly, Melanie Zanona, Jeremy Diamond and Nikki Carvajal contributed to this report.

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