Biden pledged to fight for the future of America on January 6

The anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 brought any sense of healing to a country that is still deeply divided amid the deadly riots, and its leaders failed to show a common commitment to American democracy.

Although the Democrats commemorated the day with remembrances, moments of silence and vigil, few Republicans participated-a reminder that few people are willing to face the lies of former President Trump about the last election. Trump himself issued a series of statements contrary to reality, and even urged his supporters to “never give up” in the struggle to get him back to power.

At the same time, President Biden called on Americans to reject political violence in a speech in the Capitol, telling them “Only when you win can you love your country.”

The president seems to reluctantly accept the fact that the trauma of January 6th will not heal on its own, which shows that he will play a more active role in combating the lies that eroded people’s confidence in the election, which laid the foundation for the U.S. government .

“I did not seek this fight brought about in the Capitol a year ago and today, but I will not back down either,” he said in the statue hall, a year ago when thugs wandered among statues of historical figures in the country’s past. “I will stand in this breach. I will defend this country. I will not allow anyone to put a dagger on the throat of our democracy.”

This speech is more intense than Biden’s previous speeches on the subject, and directly talked about Trump’s central role in inciting attacks and fueling the election lies.

“He values ​​power rather than principles,” Biden said. “Because he believes that his own interests are more important than the interests of his country and the interests of the United States. And because his injured self is more important to him than our democracy or our constitution.”

President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris talking at the Capitol

President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at the Capitol on Thursday.

(Kent West Village/Los Angeles Times)

Vice President Kamala Harris, who spoke before Biden, said that “certain dates reverberate in history” and put January 6th in line with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the pearl bombing of December 7, 1941. The same tragic lineage of the port during World War II.

She described the rioters as “extremists,” who attacked “generations of Americans marching, picketing, and bleeding for the systems, values, and ideals that they have established and defended.”

But finding common causes—especially cross-party boundaries—may prove difficult, if not impossible.

Opinion polls show that most Republican voters believe Trump’s lie that the last election was fraudulently manipulated or sabotaged by voters. Right-wing commentators often downplay the extent of the violence that took place on January 6, when the mob engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the police. Five people died, including a congressional police officer, and more than 140 police officers were injured; four other officers committed suicide after the siege.

During a silence in the House of Representatives on Thursday, the only Republicans on the court were Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, who served as a member of Congress decades ago. ).

The building is quieter than usual because Congress has not scheduled voting, and many lawmakers are not expected to be in Washington.

Some Democrats decided to be in town, saying that it is important to show up on Capitol Hill and commemorate this day, especially because last year the Republican Party worked hard to downplay the violence.

“One year ago today, when I walked into the Capitol, I never thought that I would kneel on the ground with the staff, colleagues, reporters, and photographers. Everyone hoped that we could leave safely,” the Illinois public. Member Robin Kelly said in one of the articles. A series of testimonies from Democrats in the House of Representatives. She recalled, “Is this my end?”

On January 6, like Kelly, about 30 lawmakers were trapped in the gallery above the floor of the House of Representatives. Representative Jason Crowe (D-Colo.) encouraged Americans to transform their anger over the events of the day. For action.

“We could have lost our democracy in 2021, but we have a chance to save it in 2022. Let us make it a year of democratic action: volunteering, advocating and participating,” he said. “Now is the time for all the good men and women in our country to help their country.”

Three people stand outside praying

Micki Witthoeft, the mother of Ashli ​​Babbitt, a member of the pro-Trump mob killed by the police, prayed with others on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

(Kent West Village/Los Angeles Times)

The Democrats invited three historians, including the curator of the Library of Congress, to discuss the attack in order to consolidate their records of the day’s events during the political quarrel.

“We must retell what happened on January 6th and fill in all the gaps,” said historian Doris Karnes Goodwin, adding that people must “convince this situation to not happen again.” , But they must also face “what is happening in the country that makes this possible.”

At the end of the day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) held a vigil on the steps of the Capitol.

Many Republicans were absent. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and others went out of town to attend the funeral of former Senator Johnny Isaacson who died last month.

In a statement, McConnell did not mention Trump, even though he said last year that Trump was “actually and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.” He called January 6, 2021 a “dark day for Congress and the country,” and warned “criminals who abused the police and used force to try to prevent Congress from performing its duties.”

The minority leader also severely criticized the Democrats. They believe that Trump’s attempt to overthrow the election by making an exception to obstruct the bill has strengthened the need to protect voting rights. This practice usually requires 60 votes to be in the Senate. Pass legislation. Since the Senate is evenly divided between the two parties, the Democrats have little chance to formulate some of their key proposals without changing the rules.

McConnell said: “It’s especially shocking to hear some Senate Democrats invoke the mob’s attempts to undermine our country’s norms, rules, and institutions as a reason to abandon our norms, rules, and institutions.”

Police outside the Capitol on Thursday.

Police outside the Capitol on Thursday.

(Kent West Village/Los Angeles Times)

The only Republican-led event on Capitol Hill was hosted by Congressman Marjorie Taylor Green of Georgia and Matt Gates of Florida. They are Trump’s two most outspoken allies. They used the anniversary to share the unfounded theory that the attack on the Capitol was secretly instigated by federal authorities, and Fox News host Tucker Carlson also aired the conspiracy theory.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) initially criticized Trump after the January 6 attacks, but quickly acquiesced in his continued leadership role in the party. He stated in a Facebook post that during the riots, it was “illegal. “People” should be held accountable. But he accused the Democrats of failing to “answer the core question of how the Capitol is unprepared,” and accused them of using the anniversary “as a party political weapon to further divide our country.”

Trump originally planned to hold a press conference at his Florida resort, Sea Lake Estate, but it was cancelled earlier this week. He erroneously described the last presidential election as the “crimes of the century” and promised to “discuss many of the important topics” at the next rally scheduled to be held in Arizona on January 15.

Soon after Biden finished speaking, Trump issued a statement reiterating his lie about the election stolen.

He said: “This political arena is just a distraction from the fact that Biden has completely failed.”

Erin B. Logan and Anumita Kaur, special contributors from Times, contributed to this report.