President Joe Biden blasted former President Donald Trump during his address to the nation, commemorating the one-year-anniversary of the January 6 Capitol riot on Thursday. Biden condemned Trump for both spreading the Big Lie about election fraud in 2020 and for failing to shut down the protesters as they turned violent and stormed the Capitol. “For the first time in our history, the president had not just lost an election, he tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob stormed the capitol but they failed,” he said early in his address.
During the passionate address, Biden made sure that all Americans knew that the insurrection couldn’t be further away from what the U.S. stands for. “A former president who lies about this election and the mob who attacks this capitol could not be further away from the core American values.They want to rule or they will ruin,” he said. The president reassured everyone that the election was won fairly with a direct call out against Trump. “He’s not just the former president. He’s a defeated former president,” he passionately said in the speech.
The president warned of the threat that sharing those lies consist of. “You can’t be patriotic when you embrace and enabled lies. Those that stormed this capitol, and those that instigated and incited and those who called on them to do so held a dagger at the throat of America, at American Democracy,” he called out.
Biden repeatedly hammered home that Trump’s claims about election fraud are completely false and dangerous for democracy, and he called out his reasons for spreading the lies. “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 principal, because he sees his own interest as more important than his country’s interest, than America’s Interest, and because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution. He can’t accept he lost,” he said.
Besides Trump, Biden also called out Republicans who have continued to peddle election fraud lies in the year since the insurrection and reframe the way January 6 is viewed. “They want you to see election day as the day of insurrection,” he said. “Can you think of a more twisted way to look at this country, to look at America?” Earlier Biden had stood firm that the election was won fairly. “There’s zero proof the election results were inaccurate,” he told Americans.
While much of the speech condemned Trump, rioters, and Republicans who have kept spreading lies, Biden also offered powerful messages for those who have continued to preserve democracy. “Now it’s up to all of us. To we the people, to stand for the rule of law, to preserve the flame of democracy, to keep the promise of America alive,” he said.
Later, Biden called on people to continue to carry the country’s values. “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, and I’m crystal clear about the threats that America faces, but I also know that our darkest days can lead to light and hope,” he said.
Other than Biden, former President Jimmy Carter also penned a heartfelt op-ed for The New York Times on Wednesday January 5, where he slammed Republicans who have continued to push election fraud lies forward in the year since the riot. “There followed a brief hope that the insurrection would shock the nation into addressing the toxic polarization that threatens our democracy,” he wrote. “However, one year on, promoters of the lie that the election was stolen have taken over one political party and stoked distrust in our electoral systems. These forces exert power and influence through relentless disinformation, which continues to turn Americans against Americans.”
Carter also laid out plans to help preserve the safety of American democracy, including condemning the spread of violence and disinformation. The former president also raised red flags about what continued division and dangerous rhetoric about the riot and election fraud could mean for the United States. “Our great nation now teeters on the brink of a widening abyss. Without immediate action, we are at genuine risk of civil conflict and losing our precious democracy. Americans must set aside differences and work together before it is too late,” he concluded.