‘I didn’t want to turn it into a battle between me and him’: Biden explains why he avoided naming Trump in January 6 speech and instead referred to the ‘former president’ 16 times and mocked his ‘bruised ego’
President Joe Biden said he didn’t mention his predecessor Donald Trump by name in his speech marking the one-year anniversary of the January 6th riot because he didn’t want to start a ‘contemporary political battle.’
‘I did not want to turn it into a contemporary political battle between me and the president. It’s way beyond that. It’s way beyond that,’ he said in response to a question from DailyMail.com in the halls of the Capitol after his remarks.
He also said he was concerned about a new attitude in politics of it’s all about me.
‘That’s the thing that bothers me most about the sort of attitude that seems to be emerging to some degree in American politics. It’s not about you, it’s about me. That’s how it’s viewed. But it’s not about me,’ he said.
He also said the nation needs to look to move on.
‘The way you have to heal you have to recognize the extend of the wound. You can’t pretend. This is serious stuff. And a lot of people – understandably – want to go I’d just as soon not face it. You gotta face it. That’s what great nations do. They face the truth. Deal with it. And move on,’ he said.
In his speech Biden mentioned his predecessor or former president 16 times – but he never said Trump’s name.
Additionally, his remarks come at the start of 2022, the year of a midterm election where Republicans are looking to retake control of Congress and Trump is playing a kingmaker role in that party.
In his response, Trump called Biden’s speech ‘political theater’ and a distraction for his failures and doubled down on his false claim he won the 2020 election and the result was rigged.
‘This political theater is all just a distraction for the fact Biden has completely and totally failed,’ Trump wrote in a statement. ‘The Democrats want to own this day of January 6th so they can stoke fears and divide America,’ he added. ‘I say, let them have it because America sees through theirs [sic] lies and polarizations.’
‘They spread a ‘web of lies’ about me and Russia for 4 years to try to overturn the 2016 election, and now they lie about how they interfered in the 2020 Election, too,’ he said noted in one of his three statements released Thursday.
The 2022 midterm is widely expected to be a referendum on Biden’s presidency and most presidents see their party lose control of Congress. And Trump is expected to play an oversized role in Republican primaries as he seeks vengeance against any Republican lawmaker that voted to impeach him after the January 6th riot.
Biden’s approval ratings, meanwhile, have hit a low point – hovering in the lower 40s.
Previously, officials in the Biden administration rarely mentioned Donald Trump, not wanting to get drawn into a verbal battle with the former president who was falsely claiming he was the real 2020 victor.
‘We would argue the point that he’s ever shied away from making clear’ that Trump ‘posed a threat to him democracy throughout the course of his presidency, and that was a root reason why President Biden ran for office,’ White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in her press briefing on Thursday.
Psaki brushed off Trump’s response to Biden’s remarks, saying she was glad Trump watched the speech.
‘Maybe he learned something,’ she said.
‘It looks like he saw the speech, I guess that’s good news. Maybe he learned something about what it looks like to meet the moment in the country,’ she said.
President Biden said he didn’t mention Donald Trump by name in his speech marking Jan. 6 anniversary because he didn’t want to start a ‘contemporary political battle’
Donald Trump called Biden’s speech ‘political theater’ and a distraction for his failures
Psaki also went after Republican lawmakers, saying they ‘need to take a look at themselves and think about what role they want to play in the history books. When their children and grandchildren look at the history books. Do they want to be perpetuating the big lie? Do they want to be walking like the silent lemmings behind the former president?’
And even if Biden said he didn’t want the day to be about contemporary politics, Republicans charged the president and his party with turning the anniversary into just that.
The GOP also accused them of trying to use the occasion to jam through legislation on voting rights. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham accused Biden of ‘brazen politicization’ and called the speech an ‘effort to resurrect a failed presidency.
In his nearly 25-minute speech, Biden tore into Trump for watching TV while a mob stormed the Capitol on January 6, mocked his ‘bruised ego’ and accused him and his supporters of holding a ‘dagger in the throat of democracy’ in a speech on Thursday.
In his most searing attack on his predecessor to date, Biden called Trump a ‘defeated former president’ and criticized him for ‘refusing to accept he lost’ the November 2020 in remarks on the one-year anniversary of the attack alongside Kamala Harris.
‘We saw with our own eyes rioters menace these halls, threatening the life of the Speaker of the House. Literally erecting gallows to hang the vice president of the United States of America,’ Biden recalled. ‘What did we not see? We didn’t see a former president, who just rallied the mob to attack, sitting in a private dining room off the Oval Office in the White House watching it all on television and doing nothing for hours.’
Biden went after the MAGA mob saying: ‘This wasn’t a group of tourists. This was an armed insurrection.’
He did not mention his predecessor by name but – 16 times – referred to him as ‘the former president,’ accusing Trump of creating and spreading ‘a web of lies about the 2020 election.’
Before Biden spoke, Kamala Harris compared January 6 to 9/11 and the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, called America the ‘oldest and greatest democracy in the world’ and slammed the ‘extremists’ who stormed the Capitol.
Biden’s speech was filled with descriptive phrases: Trump’s ‘bruised ego’ and ‘web of lies.’ He decried the rioters for ‘ransacking the capitol, destroying property, literally defecating in the hallways?’
President Joe Biden tore into former President Donald Trump for watching TV while a mob stormed the Capitol on January 6, mocked his ‘bruised ego’ and accused him and his supporters of holding a ‘dagger in the throat of democracy’ in a speech on Thursday
In his most searing attack on his predecessor to date, Biden called Trump a ‘defeated former president’ and criticized him for ‘refusing to accept he lost’ the November 2020 in remarks on the one-year anniversary of the attack. He spoke from Statuary Hall, which rioters breached 12 months ago
Before Biden spoke, Kamala Harris compared January 6 to 9/11 and the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, called America the ‘oldest and greatest democracy in the world’ and slammed the ‘extremists’ who stormed the Capitol
President Joe Biden wipes his eyes as Vice President Kamala Harris delivers remarks on the one year anniversary of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol
Biden did not mention his predecessor by name but – 16 times – referred to him as ‘the former president,’ accusing Trump of creating and spreading ‘a web of lies about the 2020 election’
In his remarks, Biden essentially called the former president a ‘loser,’ which will likely infuriate Trump.
‘Because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution,’ Biden stated. ‘He can’t accept he lost.’
Kamala Harris compares January 6 to Pearl Harbor and 9/11
‘Certain dates echo throughout history, including dates that instantly remind all who have lived through them where they were and what they were doing, when our democracy came under assault,’ Harris began. ‘December 7, 1941, September 11, 2001 and January 6, 2021.’
Harris alluded to civil rights fights of the past century.
‘What the extremists who roamed these halls targeted was not only the lives of elected leaders… what they were assaulting were the institutions, the values, the ideals that generations of Americans have marched, picketed and shed blood to establish and defend.’
‘We cannot let our future be decided by those bent on silencing our voices, overturning our votes, and peddling lies and misinformation by some radical faction that may be newly resurgent, but whose roots run old and deep.’
Harris then called the U.S. the ‘oldest and greatest democracy in the world.’
‘I wonder, how will January 6 be come to be remembered?’ Harris said. ‘Will it be remembered as a moment that accelerated the unraveling of the oldest and greatest democracy in the world? Or a moment when we decided to secure and strengthen our democracy for generations to come?’
Democracy was coined by the Greeks in 430 B.C., means ‘for the people’ and many communities such as Iceland, the Faroe Islands, the UK’s Isle of Man, San Marino and Switzerland have had so-called democracies dating back to the ninth and tenth centuries.
He also charged that Trump continues the lie he won the election ‘because he values power over principle. Because he sees his own interest as more important than his country’s interest, than America’s interest,’ Biden said.
Trump said in his response: ‘Biden 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. That’s what you get when you have a rigged Election.’
In his speech, delivered in a nearly empty room, Biden spoke at length about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, offering his most detailed defense to date of his victory, which comes as Trump has continued to spout the so-called ‘big lie,’ that he lost out on a second term due to widespread election fraud.
‘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 election day November 3, 2020,’ Biden noted.
The president said that Trump and his supporters are trying to ‘re-write history.’
‘That the riot that took place on January 6 is a true expression of the will of the people. Can you think of a more twisted way to look at this country, to look at America?’ Biden asked. ‘I cannot.’
‘Over 150 million Americans went to the polls and voted that day. In a pandemic. Some at great risk to their lives. They should be applauded not attacked,’ the president added.
He briefly mentioned Democrats’ voting rights push, pointing out how ‘new laws are being written not to protect the vote, but to deny it.’
Biden will travel to Georgia on Tuesday to give a broader voting rights address.
‘The former president and his supporters, the only way for them to win is to suppress your vote and subvert our elections,’ Biden said. ‘It’s wrong. It’s undemocratic, and frankly, it is un-American.’
The ‘second big lie,’ Biden continued, was Trump telling his supporters the results of the 2020 election can’t be trusted.
‘The truth is that no election, no election in American history, has been more closely scrutinized or more carefully counted,’ the president pointed out.
‘He was just looking for an excuse, a pretext to cover for the truth,’ Biden said. ‘He is not just a former president, he is a defeated former president.’
‘Defeated by a margin of over 7 million of your votes. In a full and free and fair election,’ Biden continued. ‘There is simply zero proof the election results were inaccurate.’
A ‘third big lie,’ Biden said, came when Trump and his supporters called the MAGA mob who stormed the Capitol ‘the nation’s true patriots.’
‘Is that what you thought when you looked at the mob ransacking the capitol, destroying property, literally defecating in the hallways?’ the president said. ‘Going through the desks of senators and representative. Hunting down members of Congress.’
‘Patriots?’ Biden asked. ‘Not in my view.’
Biden said the true patriots were the country’s voters, the election workers and law enforcement who defended the Capitol on January 6.
‘You can’t love your country only when you win,’ he said. ‘You can’t obey the law only when it is convenient. You can’t be patriotic when you embrace and enable lies.’
Biden never used Trump’s name during the Thursday morning address, instead referring to him as ‘the former president.’
‘I didn’t want to make it a contemporary political battle,’ Biden told reporters after he concluded his speech.
In a statement after Biden’s speech, Trump again called the election ‘rigged’ and repeated ‘the Big Lie was the Election itself.’
‘This political theater is all just a distraction for the fact Biden has completely and totally failed,’ Trump added, pointing to inflation, Afghanistan, the migrant crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border and the continued coronavirus pandemic, including school closures.
The Capitol building was quiet Thursday morning as Democrats prepared to spend the day in remembrance.
There was a heavy police presence and several metal interlocking barricades surrounding the building.
Snow was on the ground from the storm earlier in the week.
‘This political theater is all just a distraction for the fact Biden has completely and totally failed: Trump’s three furious statements responding to President’s speech
Trump released two statements attacking Biden’s speech as ‘political theater’ and calling him a ‘failure’ shortly after
FIRST STATEMENT – 10:00AM: Biden, who is destroying our Nation with insane policies of open Borders, corrupt Elections, disastrous energy policies, unconstitutional mandates, and devastating school closures, used my name today to try to further divide America.
This political theater is all just a distraction for the fact Biden has completely and totally failed. Our Country no longer has Borders, has totally and completely lost control of Covid (record numbers!), is no longer Energy Independent, Inflation is rampant, our Military is in chaos, and our exit, or surrender, from Afghanistan was perhaps the most embarrassing day in the long and distinguished history of the United States—and so much more.
Why is it that the Unselect Committee of totally partisan political hacks, whose judgment has long ago been made, not discussing the rigged Presidential Election of 2020? It’s because they don’t have the answers or justifications for what happened. They got away with something, and it is leading to our Country’s destruction. They want all conversation concerning the Election ‘Canceled.’ Just look at the numbers, they speak for themselves. They are not justifiable, so the complicit media just calls it the Big Lie, when in actuality the Big Lie was the Election itself.
The Democrats want to own this day of January 6th so they can stoke fears and divide America. I say, let them have it because America sees through theirs lies and polarizations.
SECOND STATEMENT- 10.12AM: Biden 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. That’s what you get when you have a rigged Election.
THIRD STATEMENT – 12.39AM: To watch Biden speaking is very hurtful to many people. They’re the ones who tried to stop the peaceful transfer with a rigged election. Just look at the numbers. Does anybody really think that Biden beat Obama with the Black population in select Swing State cities, but nowhere else?
That he would lose 18 out of 19 bellwether counties, and 27 out of 27 ‘toss up’ House races, but somehow miraculously receive the most votes in American history with no coattails? That he would lose Florida, Ohio, and Iowa and win, even though it has never been done before?
They spread a ‘web of lies’ about me and Russia for 4 years to try to overturn the 2016 election, and now they lie about how they interfered in the 2020 Election, too. Big Tech was used illegally. Where did all those votes show up from in Georgia, where it was just revealed they sold ballots for $10 a piece, or in Pennsylvania, and Arizona, and Wisconsin. He acts like he’s aggrieved, but we’re the ones who were aggrieved and America is suffering because of it with poisonous Borders, record Inflation, a humiliating surrender in Afghanistan, $5 a gallon gas and higher, empty stock shelves, and rampant crime.
America is a laughingstock stock of the world, and it’s all because of the real insurrection, which took place on November 3rd, but this is an election year and MAGA Republicans should get elected and work with me to fix this horror that Joe Biden and the Democrats have brought us.
Never forget the crime of the 2020 Presidential Election. Never give up!
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris arrive to speak from Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol to mark the one year anniversary of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol
President Biden puts his arm around Vice President Harris
Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden walk through the Hall of Columns after their remarks
President Joe Biden (center) walks through the Capitol Building with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (left) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (right)
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger is seen before President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris give remarks in the Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol
President Joe Biden, left, and Vice President Kamala Harris, hidden right, talk with Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot
Upon arriving at the Capitol, the president told reporters, ‘I’m praying that we never have another day like we had a year ago today. That’s what I’m praying.’
He was escorted into the building by Democratic leaders, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Republicans have accused Democrats of playing politics with the anniversary.
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell called January 6 a ‘dark day’ in a statement but then pivoted to attacking Democrats for trying to change Senate rules in order to pass voting rights legislation.
‘It has been stunning to see some Washington Democrats try to exploit this anniversary to advance partisan policy goals that long predated this event,’ McConnell said. ‘It is especially jaw-dropping to hear some Senate Democrats invoke the mob’s attempt to disrupt our country’s norms, rules, and institutions as a justification to discard our norms, rules, and institutions themselves.’
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and close friend to Trump, reacted to Biden’s speech by saying, ‘What brazen politicization of January 6 by President Biden.’
‘I wonder if the Taliban who now rule Afghanistan with al-Qaeda elements present, contrary to President Biden’s beliefs, are allowing this speech to be carried?’ Graham added.
Trump was supposed to address reporters Thursday from his Mar-a-Lago resort, but called off the press conference Tuesday night.
A large group of police arrive at the Capitol on Thursday morning
U.S. Capitol Police keep watch on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan, 6
Snow on grounds of Capitol Hill on the morning of January 6th
U.S. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger stands outside the U.S. Capitol on the first anniversary of the January 6, 2021 attack
Members of U.S. Capitol Police arrive for duty
Statuary Hall, which is the original House chamber in the U.S. Capitol Building, was set up like a TV studio in advance of the occasion
Workers clean the Statuary Hall stage before President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris arrived Thursday morning
DC Metropolitan Police Department officer Michael Fanone arrives in the Hall of Columns on the first anniversary of attack on the Capitol. He has since left the department to join CNN as a law enforcement expert
The Biden administration has been reluctant to directly discuss Trump particularly given that the former president continues the false claim that he won the 2020 presidential election.
But White House press secretary Psaki did not mince words in her press briefing Wednesday about the administration’s view of Trump.
The former president addressed his supporters outside the White House on January 6, 2021 before they marched on the Capitol and tried to stop the certification of Biden’s victory.
House Democrats impeached Trump for his role but he was acquitted by the Senate.
Biden has been ‘clear eyed about the threat the former president represents to our democracy and how the former president constantly works to constantly undermine basic American values and rule of law,’ Psaki said.
She noted that Biden sees January 6th as a ‘tragic culmination of what those four years under President Trump did to our country.’
In a bid capitalize on the anniversary, Democrats on committee are looking to crank up the pace of their probe and draw a massive audience with prime-time hearings.
‘I have favored this strategy from the beginning,’ Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, a member of the panel, told MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Wednesday.
He said he wanted a Watergate-style approach, when the 1973 hearings into Richard Nixon’s presidency captivated America. At one point an estimated 85% of the country was tuned in to them.
‘I remember as a kid getting to watch a bit of the Watergate hearings, which were a daily spectacle that the whole country tuned into,’ Raskin said. ‘If we can do that for, you know, a break-in in a couple of offices in the Watergate hotel, certainly, we can do it for a massive break-in into the Capitol of the United States, a storming, and a seizure essentially of our government offices, an interruption of the peaceful transfer of power.’
Those prime-time hearings could occur in late March or early April, Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, told Bloomberg News.
But no date has been set yet.
‘We’re working toward that,’ Thompson said.
Those hearings would also feature high-profile witnesses, which would help them gain maximum exposure. Among those names being considered are former Vice President Mike Pence.
Pence was under heavy pressure from Trump to declare the 2020 election results invalid, wipe out Joe Biden’s victory and secure him a second term.
The vice president has the symbolic role of presiding over the Electoral College certification of results. Pence was a target of the January 6th rioters, some of who threatened to hang him, and was evacuated from the Senate floor as the MAGA supporters stormed the Capitol.
Thompson told CNN that he and the panel would like to hear from Pence.
‘I would hope that he would do the right thing and come forward and voluntarily talk to the committee,’ he said.
‘We have not formally asked. But if he offered, we’d gladly accept. Everything is under consideration,’ he added.
So far, in its investigation, the committee has interviewed more than 300 witnesses, announced more than 50 subpoenas, obtained more than 35,000 pages of records and received hundreds of telephone tips through their Jan. 6 tipline, according to a tally by The Washington Post.
Names are starting to be lined up for hearings.
Rioters breached the Capitol on January 6 during a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally which claimed Donald Trump had won the election as Congress met to count electoral votes and certify Joe Biden’s presidential election win
The riot of January 6 left 150 members of law enforcement injured, and cost five their lives
‘This is not a land of kings or dictators or autocrats’: Biden’s speech in full where he mentioned the ‘former president’ 16 times – but didn’t name Trump
A lone protester demonstrating against the January 6 attacker stands outside the Capitol during Biden’s speech
Madam Vice President, my fellow Americans: To state the obvious, one year ago today, in this sacred place, democracy was attacked — simply attacked. The will of the people was under assault. The Constitution — our Constitution — faced the gravest of threats.
Outnumbered and in the face of a brutal attack, the Capitol Police, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, the National Guard, and other brave law enforcement officials saved the rule of law.
Our democracy held. We the people endured. And we the people prevailed.
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 breached the Capitol.
But they failed. They failed.
And on this day of remembrance, we must make sure that such an attack never, never happens again.
I’m speaking to you today from Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol. This is where the House of Representatives
met for 50 years in the decades leading up to the Civil War. This is — on this floor is where a young congressman of Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, sat at desk 191.
Above him — above us, over that door leading into the Rotunda — is a sculpture depicting Clio, the muse of history. In her hands, an open book in which she records the events taking place in this chamber below.
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. The facts
and the truth that Vice President Harris just shared and that you and I and the whole world saw with our own eyes.
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 about January 6th, 2021:
Close your eyes. Go back to that day. What do you see? Rioters rampaging, waving for the first time inside this Capitol a Confederate flag that symbolized the cause to destroy America, to rip us apart.
Even during the Civil War, that never, ever happened. But it happened here in 2021.
What else do you see? A mob breaking windows, kicking in doors, breaching the Capitol. American flags on poles being used as weapons, as spears. Fire extinguishers being thrown at the heads of police officers.
A crowd that professes their love for law enforcement assaulted those police officers, dragged them, sprayed them, stomped on them.
Over 140 police officers were injured.
We’ve all heard the police officers who were there that day testify to what happened. One officer called it, quote, a med- — ‘medieval’ battle, and that he was more afraid that day than he was fighting the war in Iraq.
They’ve repeatedly asked since that day: How dare anyone — anyone — diminish, belittle, or deny the hell they were put through?
We saw it with our own eyes. Rioters menaced these halls, threatening the life of the Speaker of the House, literally erecting gallows to hang the Vice President of the United States of America.
But what did we not see?
We didn’t see a former president, who had 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 as police were assaulted, lives at risk, and the nation’s capital under siege.
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.
They were looking to uphold — they weren’t looking to uphold a free and fair election. They were looking to overturn one.
They weren’t looking to save the cause of America. They were looking to subvert the Constitution.
This isn’t about being bogged down in the past. This is about making sure the past isn’t buried.
That’s the only way forward. That’s what great nations do. They don’t bury the truth, they face up to it. Sounds like hyperbole, but that’s the truth: They face up to it.
We are a great nation.
My fellow Americans, in life, there’s truth and,
tragically, there are lies — lies conceived and spread for profit and power.
We must be absolutely clear about what is true and what is a lie.
And here is 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 interests as more important than his country’s interests and America’s interests, and because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution.
He can’t accept he lost, even though that’s what 93 United States senators, his own Attorney General, his own Vice President, governors and state officials in every battleground state have all said: He lost.
That’s what 81 million of you did as you voted for a new way forward.
He has done what no president in American history — the history of this country — has ever, ever done: He refused to accept the results of an election and the will of the American people.
While some courageous men and women in the Republican Party are standing against it, trying to uphold the principles of that party, too many others are transforming that party into something else. They seem no longer to want to be the party — the party of Lincoln, Eisenhower, Reagan, the Bushes.
But whatever my other disagreements are with Republicans who support the rule of law and not the rule of a single man, I will always seek to work together with them to find shared solutions where possible. Because if we have a shared belief in democracy, then anything is possible — anything.
And so, at this moment, we must decide: What kind of nation are we 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.
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 Election Day — November 3rd, 2020.
Think about that. Is that what you thought? Is that what you thought when you voted that day? Taking part in an insurrection? Is that what you thought you were doing? Or did you think you were carrying out your highest duty as a citizen and voting?
The former president and his supporters are trying to rewrite history. They want you to see Election Day as the day of insurrection and the riot that took place here on January 6th as the true expression of the will of the people.
Can you think of a more twisted way to look at this country — to look at America? I cannot.
Here’s the truth: The election of 2020 was the greatest demonstration of democracy in the history of this country.
More of you voted in that election than have ever voted in all of American history. Over 150 million Americans went to the polls and voted that day in a pandemic — some at grea- — great risk to their lives. They should be applauded, not attacked.
Right now, in state after state, new laws are being written — not to protect the vote, but to deny it; not only to suppress the vote, but to subvert it; not to strengthen or protect our democracy, but because the former president lost.
Instead of looking at the election results from 2020 and saying they need new ideas or better ideas to win more votes, the former president and his 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.
The second Big Lie being told by the former President and his supporters is that the results of the election of 2020 can’t be trusted.
The truth is that no election — no election in American history has been more closely scrutinized or more carefully counted.
Every legal challenge questioning the results in every court in this country that could have been made was made and was rejected — often rejected by Republican-appointed judges, including judges appointed by the former president himself, from state courts to the United States Supreme Court.
Recounts were undertaken in state after state. Georgia — Georgia counted its results three times, with one recount by hand.
Phony partisan audits were undertaken long after the election in several states. None changed the results. And in some of them, the irony is the margin of victory actually grew slightly.
So, let’s speak plainly about what happened in 2020. Even before the first ballot was cast, the former president
was preemptively sowing doubt about the election results. He built his lie over months. It wasn’t based on any facts. He was just looking for an excuse — a pretext — to cover for the truth.
He’s not just a former president. He’s a defeated former president — defeated by a margin of over 7 million of your votes in a full and free and fair election.
There is simply zero proof the election results were inaccurate. In fact, in every venue where evidence had to be produced and an oath to tell the truth had to be taken, the former president failed to make his case.
Just think about this: The former president and his supporters have never been able to explain how they accept as accurate the other election results that took place on November 3rd — the elections for governor, United States Senate, the House of Representatives — elections in which they closed the gap in the House.
They challenge none of that. The President’s name was first, then we went down the line — governors, senators, House of Representatives. Somehow, those results were accurate on the same ballot, but the presidential race was flawed?
And on the same ballot, the same day, cast by the same voters.
The only difference: The former President didn’t lose those races; he just lost the one that was his own.
Finally, the third Big Lie being told by a former President and his supporters is that the mob who sought to impose their will through violence are the nation’s true patriots.
Is that what you thought when you looked at the mob ransacking the Capitol, destroying property, literally defecating in the hallways, rifling through desks of senators and representatives, hunting down members of congress? Patriots? Not in my view.
To me, the true patriots were the more than 150 [million] Americans who peacefully expressed their vote at the ballot box, the election workers who protected the integrity of the vote, and the heroes who defended this Capitol.
You can’t love your country only when you win.
You can’t obey the law only when it’s convenient.
You can’t be patriotic when you embrace and enable lies.
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 — at American democracy.
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.
Those who incited the mob — the real plotters — who were desperate to deny the certification of the election and defy the will of the voters.
But their plot was foiled. Congressmen — Democrats and Republicans — stayed. Senators, representatives, staff — they finished their work the Constitution demanded. They honored their oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Look, folks, 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.
That promise is at risk, targeted by the forces that value brute strength over the sanctity of democracy, fear over hope, personal gain over public good.
Make no mistake about it: We’re living at an inflection point in history.
Both at home and abroad, we’re engaged anew in a struggle between democracy and autocracy, between the aspirations of the many and the greed of the few, between the people’s right of self-determination and self- — the self-seeking autocrat.
From China to Russia and beyond, they’re betting that democracy’s days are numbered. They’ve actually told me democracy is too slow, too bogged down by division to succeed in today’s rapidly changing, complicated world.
And they’re betting — they’re betting America will become more like them and less like us. They’re betting that America is a place for the autocrat, the dictator, the strongman.
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 should ever, ever be.
Our Founding Fathers, as imperfect as they were, set in motion an experiment that changed the world — literally changed the world.
Here in America, the people would rule, power would be transferred peacefully — never at the tip of a spear or the barrel of a gun.
And they committed to paper an idea that couldn’t live up to — they couldn’t live up to but an idea that couldn’t be constrained: Yes, in America all people are created equal.
We reject the view that if you succeed, I fail; if you get ahead, I fall behind; if I hold you down, I somehow lift myself up.
The former President, who lies about this election, and the mob that attacked this Capitol could not be further away from the core American values.
They want to rule or they will ruin — ruin what our country fought for at Lexington and Concord; at Gettysburg; at Omaha Beach; Seneca Falls; Selma, Alabama. What — and what we were fighting for: the right to vote, the right to govern ourselves, the right to determine our own destiny.
And with rights come responsibilities: the responsibility to see each other as neighbors — maybe we disagree with that neighbor, but they’re not an adversary; the responsibility to accept defeat then get back in the arena and try again the next time to make your case; the responsibility to see that America is an idea — an idea that requires vigilant stewardship.
As we stand here today — one year since January 6th, 2021 — the lies that drove the anger and madness we saw in this place, they have not abated.
So, we have to be firm, resolute, and unyielding in our defense of the right to vote and to have that vote counted.
Some have already made the ultimate sacrifice in this sacred effort.
Jill and I have mourned police officers in this Capitol Rotunda not once but twice in the wake of January 6th: once to honor Officer Brian Sicknick, who lost his life the day after the attack, and a second time to honor Officer Billy Evans, who lost his life defending this Capitol as well.
We think about the others who lost their lives and were injured and everyone living with the trauma of that day — from those defending this Capitol to members of Congress in both parties and their staffs, to reporters, cafeteria workers, custodial workers, and their families.
Don’t kid yourself: The pain and scars from that day run deep.
I said it many times and it’s no more true or real than when we think about the events of January 6th: We are in a battle for the soul of America. A battle that, by the grace of God and the goodness and gracious — and greatness of this nation, we will win.
Believe me, I know how difficult democracy is. And I’m crystal clear about the threats America faces. But I also know that our darkest days can lead to light and hope.
From the death and destruction, as the Vice President referenced, in Pearl Harbor came the triumph over the forces of fascism.
From the brutality of Bloody Sunday on the Edmund Pettus Bridge came historic voting rights legislation.
So, now let us step up, write the next chapter in American history where January 6th marks not the end of democracy, but the beginning of a renaissance of liberty and fair play.
I did not seek this fight brought to this Capitol one year ago today, but I will not shrink from it either.
I will stand in this breach. I will defend this nation. And I will allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of our democracy.
We will make sure the will of the people is heard; that the ballot prevails, not violence; that authority in this nation will always be peacefully transferred.
I believe the power of the presidency and the purpose is to unite this nation, not divide it; to lift us up, not tear us apart; to be about us — about us, not about ‘me.’
Deep in the heart of America burns a flame lit almost 250 years ago — of liberty, freedom, and equality.
This is not a land of kings or dictators or autocrats. We’re a nation of laws; of order, not chaos; of peace, not violence.
Here in America, the people rule through the ballot, and their will prevails.
So, let us remember: Together, we’re one nation, under God, indivisible; that today, tomorrow, and forever, at our best, we are the United States of America.
God bless you all. May God protect our troops. And may God bless those who stand watch over our democracy.