President Joe Biden will mark the first anniversary of the January 6, 2021, insurrection by delivering remarks on Thursday morning focused on the “singular responsibility” former President Donald Trump had in the assault on the Capitol, the White House says.
In Washington, DC, one year ago, Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building following the then-president’s rally on the Ellipse outside the White House, where he cast doubt on the results of the 2020 presidential election.
The events of the day led to Trump’s second impeachment by the House of Representatives. The insurrection launched the largest investigation in FBI history, with 700 people arrested and hundreds more offenders still at large. And a
House select committee continues to investigate the events leading up to the riots. Two Trump allies — Mark Meadows and Steve Bannon — have been held in criminal contempt for declining to cooperate with committee investigators after being subpoenaed.
On Capitol Hill, a series of events organized by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will take place following Biden’s speech to mark the January 6 anniversary, including a moment of silence on the House floor and testimonials from lawmakers about the harrowing attack.
During his speech at Statuary Hall inside the Capitol building, Biden is expected to “lay out the significance of what happened at the Capitol and the singular responsibility President Trump has for the chaos and carnage that we saw,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during Wednesday’s press briefing.
In a preview of the President’s remarks, Psaki said Biden will also “push back on the lie spread by the former President and attempt to mislead the American people and his own supporters as well as distract from his role and what happened.”
“And so at this moment, we must decide what kind of nation we are going to be,” Biden is expected to say, according to prepared remarks released by the White House Thursday morning. “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 events of the insurrection took place just two weeks before Biden’s inauguration, casting a shadow on the new President’s administration. And despite the slew of tossed-out court cases, failed state election audits, and countless debunked conspiracy claims, many Trump supporters have continued to doubt the legitimacy of Biden’s presidency.
Speaking about that violent day, which included five fatalities, the President is expected to discuss “the importance of history, of the peaceful transfer of power,” as well as what the United States needs “to do protect our own democracy and be forward-looking.”
Biden will address “silence and complacency” among Republican lawmakers since January 6, as well as voting rights, Psaki said, noting that Trump “abused his office, undermined the Constitution and ignored his oath to the American people in an effort to amass more power for himself and his allies.”
Vice President Kamala Harris is also expected to deliver remarks on Thursday regarding the anniversary of the insurrection.
Harris expected to say “that the insurrection was not just an assault on our Capitol, but an assault on our freedom and values,” according to a White House official.
“The vice president will outline that the American experiment is being tested and that we must work to secure voting rights, ensure free and fair elections, and safeguard our democracy for generations to come. She will also honor the brave men and women in law enforcement, who fought to uphold our democracy, protected the Capitol, and saved the lives of the people who were there,” the official said in a statement.
While Trump was expected to hold a news conference scheduled for the anniversary of the insurrection, it was abruptly canceled. Allies had warned it would cause unnecessary problems for Republicans and himself.
Instead of his news conference on Thursday, Trump is expected to air his grievances at a campaign-style rally in Arizona next week.