- Biden speaks in the US Capitol, never says Trump’s name
- Trump accuses Biden of trying to divide the country
- Republican Cheney laments Trump’s ‘cult of personality’
WASHINGTON, Jan 6 (Reuters) – President Joe Biden on Thursday accused his predecessor, Donald Trump, of spreading a “web of lies” to undermine American democracy in a speech on the anniversary of the deadly attack on Capitol Hill by Trump supporters. who tried to undo their 2020. electoral defeat.
Speaking in the white-domed building where rioters smashed windows, attacked police, and sent lawmakers fleeing for their lives on January 6, 2021, Biden said Trump’s false claims that the elections were stolen from him through widespread electoral fraud they could disrupt the rule of law. and subvert future elections.
“A former president of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 elections. He did so because he values power over principle,” Biden said. “He cannot accept that he lost.”
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Biden never spoke the name of his predecessor during the 25-minute speech, then told reporters that he was trying to focus on threats to the US political system rather than Trump himself.
The tone, including a punch to Trump’s “bruised ego,” was a deviation for Biden, who has focused for most of his first year in office on pursuing his own agenda. Trump issued three statements in the hours after his successor’s statements accusing Biden of trying to divide the country and repeating his false electoral claims.
Trump’s behavior over the past year, like his conduct in office, has broken the rules. Unlike other former US presidents who were denied reelection, Trump has refused to accept the voters’ verdict and has lobbied his fellow Republicans to somehow reverse the results, to no avail.
Their bogus claims have provided cover for statewide Republicans to pass new voting restrictions they say are necessary to combat fraud. Research shows that this type of fraud is extremely rare in American elections.
Biden’s fellow Democrats, some Republicans, and many independent experts have said that Trump’s continued denials could make future U.S. transfers of power less likely, especially those involving narrower margins than the 2020 election. that Biden won by 7 million votes across the country.
The speech illustrated that Biden and other Democrats distrust Trump’s political staying power. In the immediate aftermath of the riots, even some Republicans thought their grip on their party had suffered, but Trump has only tightened it since then.
“Our democracy is very fragile and the cult of The Big Lie is still in action with the help of the vast majority of our colleagues on the other side, who continue to try to rewrite or ignore history,” said Democratic Representative Pramila Jayapal. he said at an evening event.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led dozens of bundled Democratic lawmakers holding lights in a moment of silence on the steps of the Capitol, part of a candlelight prayer vigil that was the last official event of the anniversary.
Not far away, there was poor attendance at a vigil at the DC jail for the roughly 40 inmates charged in connection with the January 6 robbery.
“This is not speedy justice,” said LA Warren, 65, who had driven to Washington from his home in Michigan and said he, too, had participated in the assault on the Capitol. “One year, that’s a long time, when these people, a lot of them, in my opinion, were trespassing.”
‘CULT OF PERSONALITY’
Only two Republicans were seen in a House session to mark the anniversary of the riots: Representative Liz Cheney, who has been rejected by her party colleagues after criticizing Trump, and her father Dick Cheney, who served as vice president during the presidency of George W. Bush.
“A party that is enslaved to a cult of personality is a party that is dangerous for the country,” Liz Cheney told reporters as she left the Capitol.
Dick Cheney told reporters that the current leaders of the party are not like “any of the people I met” when he served in Congress.
The next US federal election is in November, with Republicans favored to regain a majority in at least one of the two houses of Congress. That could cripple Biden’s ability to advocate for policies and set the stage for two years of legislative stalemate before a possible Biden-Trump rematch in 2024.
According to a Reuters / Ipsos poll, 55% of Republican voters believe Trump’s false claims, which were rejected by dozens of courts, state electoral departments and members of his own administration.
Four people died in the chaos that lasted hours after Trump urged his followers to march to the Capitol and “fight like hell.” One police officer died that day after fighting the rioters and four later died by suicide. Around 140 policemen were injured. US prosecutors have filed criminal charges against at least 725 people linked to the riots.
Trump remains very popular with Republican voters and is working to shape the Republican candidate field in the Nov. 8 Congressional elections.
Most Republican officials have remained loyal to him, and some have tried to downplay the unrest. Liz Cheney is one of only two Republican members of a House committee investigating the riot, which in recent weeks has uncovered records showing Trump allies urging him to stop the rioters as the attack unfolds. .
Other Republicans accused Democrats of using the anniversary for partisan benefits.
“What a blatant politicization of January 6 by President Biden,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, who has reversed his position on Trump numerous times, including criticizing him after the riots and then defending him again.
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Information from Andy Sullivan and Richard Cowan, additional information from Moira Warburton, Makini Brice, Jason Lange and Susan Heavey; Written by James Oliphant. Editing by Will Dunham, Scott Malone, Grant McCool and Marguerita Choy
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