Joe Biden has hit out at his predecessor Donald Trump in a speech on the anniversary of the insurrection at the Capitol, saying the former president was watching the violence unfold on TV and “doing nothing as police were assaulted”.
“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 6 2021 … rioters rampaging waving for the first time inside this Capitol the Confederate flag that symbolises the cause to destroy America, to rip us apart. Even during the Civil War that never, ever happened. But it happened here in 2021,” Mr Biden said at Statutory Hall, in the Capitol building, on Thursday.
He said Mr Trump had “just rallied the mob to attack” and was “sitting in a 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, the nation’s Capitol under siege”.
“This wasn’t a group of tourists. This was an armed insurrection,” Mr Biden said referring to the crowd of Trump supporters who laid siege to Congress.
“They weren’t looking to save the cause of America. They were looking to subvert the Constitution,” he added.
“We must be absolutely clear about what is true and what is a lie. And here’s 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 because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution, he can’t accept he lost,” Mr Biden said.
Joe Biden puts blame on Trump’s ‘big lie’ for ‘violent insurrection’
“He’s not just the former president, he’s the defeated former president,” Mr Biden said of Mr Trump.
He added that Trump supporters “are trying to rewrite history” by falsely claiming that election day 2020 was the actual insurrection.
“Can you think of a more twisted way to look at this country? To look at America?” the president asked.
While saying that some Republicans are “courageous”, he blasted the majority of the party for supporting Mr Trump, saying that they “seem no longer to want to be the party of Lincoln, Eisenhower, Reagan, the Bushes”.
Mr Biden said the 2020 election was the most reviewed and scrutinised election in US history.
“Georgia recounted its vote three times! One time by hand!“ he said.
“So let’s speak plainly about what happened in 2020. Before the first ballot was cast Mr Trump was spreading doubt about the legitimacy of the results, Mr Biden added.
“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 3. The elections for governor, United States Senate, House of Representatives … They challenged none of that,” he said.
Mr Biden also spoke of international strongmen and authoritarian leaders, such as the heads of China and Russia, saying that they’re “betting that democracy’s days are numbered” and that “America is a place for the autocrat, the dictator, the strongman. I do not believe that. That is not who we are”.
“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,” he added.
“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’ll allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of democracy,” Mr Biden said.
Mr Biden never mentioned Mr Trump by name but said the words “former president” 16 times.
As the president left the Capitol, he told reporters concerning his remarks about Mr Trump: “The way you have to heal is you have to recognise the extent of the wound.”
Mr Trump issued a statement in response to Mr Biden’s speech saying that he’s “destroying our nation with insane policies of open borders, corrupt elections, disastrous energy policies, unconstitutional mandates, and devastating school closures”.
He claimed that Mr Biden used his name “to try to further divide America. This political theater is all just a distraction for the fact Biden has completely and totally failed”.
He then again made the false claim that the 2020 election was rigged.
“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 their lies and polarisations,” Mr Trump said.