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Biden in Jan. 6 speech sharply criticizes Trump as spreading ‘web of lies,’ stoking riot

President Biden on Thursday blamed former President Trump for stoking insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and spreading a “web of lies” in order to “prevent” the peaceful transfer of power during certification of the 2020 presidential election, blasting him as an individual who “sees his own interest as more important than America’s.” 

During remarks from Statuary Hall in the Capitol Building on Thursday, Biden reflected on the deadly attack, saying that “the will of the people was under assault.” 

“Our Constitution faced the gravest of threats,” Biden said. “Outnumbered in the face of a brutal attack, the Capitol Police, the D.C. Metropolitan Police, the National Guard and brave law enforcement officials saved the rule of law.” 

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“Our democracy held. We the people endured. We the people prevailed,” Biden said.

President Biden speaks from Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol to mark one year since the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol by supporters loyal to then-President Donald Trump, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, in Washington. 

President Biden speaks from Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol to mark one year since the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol by supporters loyal to then-President Donald Trump, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, in Washington. 
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Biden, quickly, shifted to Trump – never mentioning him by name, but instead, referring to him only as “the former president.” 

“For the first time in our history, a president had not just lost an election. He tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob reached the Capitol,” Biden said. “But they failed.” 

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Biden added that Americans “must make sure this never, never happens again.” 

Biden pointed to Clio, the statue of the Muse of History, which overlooks Statuary Hall, noting that she documents the events of congressional history in the journal she holds. 

President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris speak to reporters as they prepare to depart the U.S. Capitol after marking one year since the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol by supporters loyal to then-President Trump, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, in Washington. 

President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris speak to reporters as they prepare to depart the U.S. Capitol after marking one year since the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol by supporters loyal to then-President Trump, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, in Washington. 
(Ken Cedeno/Pool via AP)

“Clio stood watch over this hall one year ago today, as she has for more than 200 years. She recorded what took place – the real history, the real facts, the real truth,” Biden said. “The Bible tells us that we shall know the truth, and the truth shall make us free. We shall know the truth.” 

“Well here is the God’s truth of Jan. 6, 2021,” Biden continued. “Go back to that day. What do you see? Rioters rampaging, waving, for the first time inside the Capitol, Confederate flags that symbolize the cause to destroy America – to rip us apart. Even during the Civil War, that never happened. But it happened here, in 2021.” 

“A mob, breaking windows, kicking in doors,” Biden continued, recalling individuals using “American flags on poles” as “weapons, as spears.” 

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But Biden went on to invoke Trump again – noting that he “had just rallied the mob to attack,” and watched the riot on television, and did “nothing for hours as police were assaulted, lives were at risk, the nation’s Capitol under siege.” 

Biden said the rioters were “not looking to uphold the will of the people,” but instead, “looking to deny the will of the people,” and “overturn” a “free and fair election.” 

The president noted that his speech Thursday was “about making sure the past isn’t buried.” 

  • President Biden wipes his eyes as Vice President Kamala Harris speaks from Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol to mark one year since the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol by supporters loyal to then-President Trump, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, in Washington. Image 1 of 2

    President Biden wipes his eyes as Vice President Kamala Harris speaks from Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol to mark one year since the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol by supporters loyal to then-President Trump, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, in Washington.  (Drew Angerer/Pool via AP)

  • President Biden listens as Vice President Kamala Harris speaks from Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol to mark one year since the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol by supporters loyal to then-President Trump, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, in Washington. Image 2 of 2

    President Biden listens as Vice President Kamala Harris speaks from Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol to mark one year since the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol by supporters loyal to then-President Trump, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, in Washington.  (Drew Angerer/Pool via AP)

Pointing again to Trump, Biden said he “created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election.” 

“He has done so because he values power over principle; he sees his own interest as more important than America’s interest; his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution,” Biden said. 

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“He can’t accept he lost, even though that’s what 93 U.S. senators, his own attorney general, his own vice president, governors, state officials in every battleground state, have all said. He lost,” Biden said. 

“He has done what no president in the history of this country has ever done. He refused to accept results of an election and the will of the American people,” Biden said. 

Pointing to members of the Republican Party who are loyal to Trump, Biden said “they seem to no longer want to be the party of Lincoln, Eisenhower, Reagan or the Bushes.” 

Biden claimed that some Republicans are working with Trump to continue to tell “the Big Lie, and claimed that they “fear his wrath.” 

“The big lie being told by the former president and many Republicans who fear his wrath is that the insurrection in this country actually took place on Nov. 3, 2020,” Biden said. “They want you to see Election Day as the day of insurrection.”

  • A large group of police arrive at the Capitol, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, in Washington. Image 1 of 2

    A large group of police arrive at the Capitol, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, in Washington. President Biden and members of Congress are solemnly marking one year since the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

  • The U.S. Capitol at dawn, one year after the violent Jan. 6 insurrection Image 2 of 2

    The U.S. Capitol at dawn, one year after the violent Jan. 6 insurrection by supporters of then-President Trump who assaulted police and smashed their way into the Congress to interrupt the Electoral College certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory, in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

He added: “Can you think of a more twisted way to look at this country, to look at America? I cannot.” 

“At this moment, we must decide what kind of nation are we going to be?” Biden declared. “Will we 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,” Biden is expected to say. 
In an effort to look ahead, Biden is expected to say that “The way forward is to recognize the truth and to live by it.”

Biden went on to slam new election laws in Republican-led states across the nation – but did not name the states to which he was referring. 

“The only way for them to win is to suppress your vote and subvert our elections,” Biden said. “It is wrong. It is undemocratic, and frankly, it is un-American.” 

Again defending the results of the 2020 presidential election, Biden said that “no election in American history has been more closely scrutinized.” 

“Every legal challenge questioning the results in every court in this country was made and was rejected,” Biden said, noting that, often times, Republican-appointed judges rejected the challenges. 

Biden went on to claim that “even before the first ballot was cast,” Trump “was preemptively sowing lies about the vote,” saying they were not “based on facts,” but instead was Trump’s effort to look “for a pre-text to cover for the truth.” 

“He is not just a former president. He is a defeated president,” Biden said. 

“You can’t love your country only when you win. You can’t obey the law only when it is convenient. You can’t be patriotic when you embrace and enable lies,” Biden said. “Those who stormed this Capitol and those who instigated and incited, and those who called on them to do so, held a dagger at the throat of America and American democracy.” 

A year after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, television cameras and video monitors fill Statuary Hall in preparation for news coverage, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022. 

A year after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, television cameras and video monitors fill Statuary Hall in preparation for news coverage, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022. 
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Biden, shifting back to insurrectionists, said they “didn’t come here out of patriotism or principle.” 

“They came here in rage. Not in service of America, but rather, in service of one man,” Biden said. “Those who incited the mob, the real plotters who were desperate to deny the certification of this election, defied the will of the voters. But their plot was foiled.” 

He added: “Congress finished the work, honored their oath to defend the Constitution, against all enemies – foreign and domestic.” 

Looking ahead, Biden said the United States is “at an inflection point in history both at home and abroad,” warning that America is “engaged in a new struggle between democracy and autocracy.” 

The president said that “from China, Russia and beyond, they are betting that democracy’s days are numbered” and that America “will become more like them and less like us.” 

“They are betting that America is the place for the autocrat, the dictator, the strongman,” Biden said. “I do not believe that. That is not who we are, that is not who we have ever been, and that is not who we will ever, ever be.” 

The president said he is “crystal clear” about the “threats” America faces, urging Americans to “step up” and “write the next chapter in American history where Jan. 6 marked not the end of democracy, but the beginning of a renaissance of liberty and fair play.” 

“I believe the power of the presidency and purpose is to unite this nation, not divide it. To lift us up, not tear us apart,” Biden said at the close of his remarks.

“To make it about us. Not about me.” 

Biden urged Americans to “remember together that we are one nation, under God, indivisible, and that today and tomorrow and forever, at our best, we are the United States of America.” 

Days after the riot in January 2021, the House of Representatives introduced an Article of Impeachment against Trump saying he “engaged in high crimes and misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States.” 

The article alleged that before Jan. 6, the joint session of Congress to certify the presidential election results, Trump “repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the presidential election results were the product of widespread fraud and should not be accepted by the American people or certified by State or Federal officials.”

The article claimed that before the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress, the president addressed a crowd and reiterated “false claims,” claiming that his remarks “encouraged–and forseeably resulted in–lawless action at the Capitol.” 

The House of Representatives voted on Jan. 13, 2021, to impeach Trump. The Senate, in February 2021, voted in favor of his acquittal.

Trump was the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice, and the first president out of office to go through an impeachment proceeding. 

Meanwhile, in a statement shortly after Biden concluded his remarks Thursday, Trump slammed Biden saying he is “working hard to try and deflect the incompetent job he is doing, and has done, on the horrible Afghanistan withdrawal (surrender), the Borders, COVID, Inflation, loss of Energy Independence, and much more.” 

“Everything he touches turns to failure,” Trump said, repeating his unproven claims that the election was “rigged.” 

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeSingman.

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