It’s been a year since Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol, as members of Congress were certifying the results of Joe Biden’s 2020 US presidential election.
In a speech from Statuary Hall at the Capitol on the one-year anniversary of the attack, US President Joe Biden said, “Today a year ago, in this sacred place, democracy was attacked.”
Without even mentioning Donald Trump by name, Biden blamed the incident entirely on Trump. “For the first time in our history, a president not only lost an election, but also tried to prevent a peaceful transition of leadership when a brutal mob reached the Congress building.”
Biden also blamed Trump for what Democrats called the “Big Lie” that the 2020 election had been stolen, which the former president and some Republicans continue to propagate today.
“Because he puts power above principle, because he considers his own interests more important than the interests of his country, than the interests of America. And because his wounded ego is more important than our democracy or our Constitution. He couldn’t accept that he had lost.”
The open attack on Trump was nothing new for Biden, who for much of his first year in office preferred to focus on realizing his agenda rather than dwelling on the past.
Asked by reporters if his speech would only exacerbate current political divisions, Biden replied, “In order for you to heal, you have to know how bad the wound is. You can’t pretend. You have to face it. That’s what the big countries do. They face reality, overcome it and move forward.”
Former President Donald Trump, who earlier canceled plans for a press conference to mark the anniversary of the event, repeated his claim that the election was “rigged” in a statement in response to Biden’s speech. He also said that “this political theater is just a distraction, because Biden has completely and completely failed.”
Residents of the city of Washington DC, where the Capitol is located, still remember the horrors of January 6, 2021. Spencer Duckley, 22, fears that not much has changed since the incident. “It’s like people are trying to pretend this never happened. And it seems like a lot of them are.”
Meanwhile, Ted (32) still remembers that the crowd that stormed the Congress building was different from the mass demonstrations he sometimes participated in. “Sometimes when you go to an action there will be a small group of protesters from the other side. However, you usually feel like you are in the midst of like-minded people. You don’t really feel like you’re being attacked. Meanwhile, it felt different. It feels like you’re being blatantly attacked.”
Not only domestically, the impact of the attack on the US Congress building was also felt in the global sphere. US rivals such as Russia and China used the incident as a tool to defend their non-democratic system.
Suzanne Spaulding, director of the Defending Democratic Institutions project at CSIS, said, “For Putin, to continue to spread the message around the world that US democracy is not something to be coveted, that US democracy is as chaotic and corrupt as the Russian system. And for China to argue that it has a better alternative system of government, which they are already implementing.”
The US path to defending democracy is challenging. Fueled by the “Stop The (Election Results)” movement and other conspiracy theories regarding election fraud, Republican legislators in various states across the US have passed or are trying to pass laws that could assert control of the electoral system and outcome, locking up the Democratic Party. in the process.
Pro-Trump mobs stormed Congress on January 6, 2021, as members were gathering inside the building to ratify the November 2020 election results. They were far more numerous than the congressional police officers on duty at the time. The mob smashed windows and damaged the historic building, sending members of Congress fleeing for their safety.
It was only hours later, after federal law enforcement agencies and military forces arrived to restore order at the Capitol, that members could resume their duties and certify Biden’s victory, while preparing for his inauguration weeks later.
Four Trump supporters died that day – three of them as a result of a medical emergency, while one congressman died the day after. The mob also injured dozens of policemen, in which a few months after that four of them died by suicide. [rd/jm]