Biden to criticize Trump, warn of threats to democracy on Jan. 6 anniversary

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will mark the anniversary of the January 6 deadly attack on the United States Capitol with a speech Thursday that points to former President Donald Trump’s involvement in the unrest and warns of continuing threats to democracy.

Previewing the president’s remarks at 9 a.m. ET, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden would “lay out the significance of what happened on Capitol Hill and the unique responsibility President Trump has for the chaos and carnage we saw. “

“He will forcibly reject the lies spread by the former president in an attempt to deceive the American people and his own supporters, as well as to divert attention from his role in what happened,” he added.

Biden will say that Americans have to decide what kind of nation they want it to be, according to excerpts published before his speech.

“Are we going to be a nation that accepts political violence as the norm? Are we going to be a nation in which we allow partisan election officials to override the legally expressed will of the people? Are we going to be a nation that does not live by light of truth, but shadow of lie? “Biden will say. “We cannot afford to be that kind of nation. The way forward is to acknowledge the truth and live by it.”

Biden, who has repeatedly said that January 6 was one of the darkest days in American history, has been reluctant to criticize his predecessor by name, even as Trump and other Republicans continue to pass on lies about validity. of the 2020 election results.

Psaki said Biden “had clear eyes on the threat the former president poses to our democracy and how the former president constantly works to undermine basic American values ​​and the rule of law.”

“He [Biden] sees January 6 as a tragic culmination of what those four years under President Trump did to our country, “he added.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, has scheduled a series of events after the president’s speech to mark the anniversary of the day thousands of Trump supporters stormed Capitol Hill in a failed attempt to prevent legislators certify Biden’s victory in the presidential election. Some members of the House will share their personal accounts of the attack and historians will have a discussion on the “historical perspective” of January 6.

Vice President Kamala Harris is also expected to speak.

Psaki said Biden was “very personally involved” in crafting his speech and that the events of the past year “hit him personally.” He added that the “silence and complacency” of some Republicans in the time since the attack “has stayed” with Biden.

The president will briefly address voting rights, Psaki said, but his main focus will be on Jan.6’s place in the nation’s history and what the country should do to prevent similar threats in the future.

Some Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, have used the anniversary to draw attention to the passage of voting rights laws. Psaki said Biden would have more to say about voting rights “soon.”

Trump had planned to host a press conference Thursday for the anniversary of the January 6 attack, but abruptly called it off Tuesday, blaming the House Select Committee investigating the riot.

A Washington Post-University of Maryland poll released Saturday found that 60 percent of Americans said Trump bears “a large part” or a “good amount” of responsibility for the attack.

However, the poll found that American views were deeply divided along partisan lines, with 72 percent of Republicans and 83 percent of Trump voters saying the former president has “just a few.” liability or “none”.

More than 700 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riots, and the House committee has interviewed several people close to Trump. The committee is expected to release a report on its findings before the 2022 midterm elections, when Republicans could gain control of Congress and close that investigation.

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