President Joe Biden marked the anniversary of the riot on the US Capitol Thursday with a hard-hitting speech squarely blaming Donald Trump for the mayhem and arguing that US democracy is in jeopardy.
Here are key points from the address:
Trump’s ‘web of lies’
Biden assailed Trump as a self-centered liar who simply could not accept defeat in the 2020 election and placed his own interests above those of the nation.
“The former president of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election,” Biden said, alluding to Trump’s oft-repeated and baseless claim that the election was stolen from him through fraud.
“He’s done so because he values power over principle, because he sees his own interest as more important than his country’s interest,” Biden said.
“He can’t accept he lost.”
Mob was ‘not tourists’
Biden dismissed some Republicans’ claim that the riot was a legitimate political demonstration in which some people got out of hand. He said Trump sat at the White House “watching it all” on television and doing nothing for hours.
“For the first time in our history, a president not just lost an election; he tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob breached the Capitol,” Biden said.
“This wasn’t a group of tourists. This was an armed insurrection. They weren’t looking to uphold the will of the people. They were looking to deny the will of the people.”
‘Dagger’ at throat of democracy’
Biden said he will never let a US election be overturned, as he said Trump and his allies tried to do.
“I will stand in this breach. I will allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of democracy. We will make sure the will of the people is heard, that the ballot prevails, not violence.”
‘Soul of America’
Biden warned that America is in crisis, with Trump’s lie that the election was stolen from him still embraced by millions, and Republican-led states enacting voting reforms widely seen as restrictions on people likely to vote Democratic.
“The former president and supporters have decided the only way for them to win is to suppress your vote and subvert our elections. It’s wrong. It’s undemocratic. And frankly, it’s un-American,” he said.
Biden said the stakes could not be higher as America fights to preserve the rule of law and choose between democracy and autocracy, a battle he said was also playing out around the world.
“We are in a battle for the soul of America,” he said. “A battle that by the grace of God, the goodness and greatness of this nation, we will win.”