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Sunday, May 19, 2024 | Back issues
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Biden blames Trump ‘web of lies’ for inciting insurrection

Speaking on the first anniversary of Jan. 6, the president reiterated that his predecessor in the White House bears responsibility for the blood that stained the Capitol.

WASHINGTON (CN) — Surrounded by statues of former presidents and activists in the very room through which rioters paraded one year ago, President Joe Biden spoke on the first anniversary of the 2021 insurrection, declaring that blame for the attack belongs to former President Donald Trump and his "web of lies."

Biden addressed the country from Statuary Hall in the Capitol building, where chants of "USA, USA," and one protester's defiant shout of "We own it, we own you," had echoed on Jan. 6, 2021, as supporters of Trump stormed the building, intent on stopping the certification of Biden's win in the 2020 presidential election.

"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 interest as more important than his country's interest and America's interest, and because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution," Biden said, referencing Trump multiple times but never naming the former president directly.

Describing the insurrection as a test of American democracy, Biden praised the Metropolitan Police and Capitol Police officers, more than 100 of whom were injured that day, for their defense of lawmakers and staff inside the Capitol on Jan. 6.

"Our democracy held. We the people endured. We the People prevailed. For the first time in our history, a president had not just lost an election, he tried to prevent a peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob reached the Capitol. But they failed. They failed. On this day of remembrance, we must make sure that such an attack never, never happens again," Biden said.

Biden likened the imagery of the insurrection to that of a "medieval battle," noting that the insurrection marked the first time in history that a Confederate flag waived inside the seat of the American government.

"Even during the Civil War that never ever happened. It happened here 2021," Biden said.

He rebuked the former president's complacency on the day of the attack as his supporters waged an attack that injured hundreds and left five people dead, with more dying in the following days.

"What do we not see? We didn't see a former president who just rallied the mob to attack sitting in the private dining room off the Oval Office in the White House, watching it all on television and doing nothing for hours," Biden said.

The House impeached Trump for his incitement of the insurrection, which continues to be investigated by a House committee as well as the Department of Justice. More than 700 people involved in the insurrection are facing criminal charges, but there is no indication yet whether Trump or members of his administration will face legal repercussions for disseminating lies about voter fraud.

The president touted the 2020 presidential election as boasting the highest voter turnout in American history and said it was devoid of widespread voter fraud.

"Here's the truth. The election in 2020 was the greatest demonstration of democracy in the history of this country,"

Framing the anniversary as an "inflection point in history," Biden called action to protect voting rights and denounce political violence key to the country's future.

"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? 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 said.

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Categories / Government, National, Politics

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