President Joe Biden tore into former President Donald Trump for watching TV while a mob stormed the Capitol on January 6, mocked his ‘bruised ego’ and accused him and his supporters of holding a ‘dagger in the throat of democracy’ in a speech on Thursday.
In his most searing attack on his predecessor to date, Biden called Trump a ‘defeated former president’ and criticized him for ‘refusing to accept he lost’ the November 2020 in remarks on the one-year anniversary of the attack with Kamala Harris by his side.
‘We saw with our own eyes rioters menace these halls, threatening the life of the Speaker of the House. Literally erecting gallows to hang the vice president of the United States of America,’ Biden recalled. ‘What did we not see? We didn’t see a former president, who just rallied the mob to attack, sitting in a private dining room off the Oval Office in the White House watching it all on television and doing nothing for hours.’
Biden went after the MAGA mob saying: ‘This wasn’t a group of tourists. This was an armed insurrection.’
He did not mention his predecessor by name but – 16 times – referred to him as ‘the former president,’ accusing Trump of creating and spreading ‘a web of lies about the 2020 election.’
His speech was filled with descriptive phrases: Trump’s ‘bruised ego’ and ‘web of lies.’ He decried the rioters for ‘ransacking the capitol, destroying property, literally defecating in the hallways?’
After his remarks, Biden told reporters in the Capitol that he was concerned about a new attitude in politics of it’s all about it me.
‘That’s the thing that bothers me most about the sort of attitude that seems to be emerging to some degree in American politics. It’s not about you, it’s about me. That’s how it’s viewed. But it’s not about me,’ he said.
And he told DailyMail.com he didn’t mention Trump by name because he didn’t want to start a ‘contemporary political battle.’
‘I did not want to turn it into a contemporary political battle between me and the president. It’s way beyond that. It’s way beyond that,’ he said.
But Biden made his remarks at the start of 2022, the year of a midterm election where Republicans are looking to retake control of Congress and Trump is playing a kingmaker role in that party.
Republicans already attacked Biden and the Democrats for turning the one-year anniversary of the January 6th riot into a political event and accused them of trying to use the occasion to jam through legislation on voting rights.
In his remarks, Biden essentially called the former president a ‘loser,’ which will likely infuriate Trump.
‘Because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution,’ Biden stated. ‘He can’t accept he lost.’
He also charged that Trump continues the lie he won the election ‘because he values power over principle. Because he sees his own interest as more important than his country’s interest, than America’s interest,’ Biden said.
In response, Trump doubled down on his false claim he won the 2020 election and that the result was rigged.
‘Biden is working hard to try and deflect the incompetent job he is doing, and has done, on the horrible Afghanistan withdrawal (surrender), the Borders, COVID, Inflation, loss of Energy Independence, and much more. Everything he touches turns to failure. That’s what you get when you have a rigged Election,’ Trump said in a statement after Biden’s remarks.
President Joe Biden blasted former President Donald Trump for spreading a ‘web of lies’ and sitting idly by as his supporters attacked the Capitol Building one year ago on Thursday
President Joe Biden addressed the January 6 Capitol attack from Statuary Hall Thursday morning
Vice President Kamala Harris (left) spoke before President Joe Biden (right) at an event Thursday morning marking the one-year anniversary of the January 6 Capitol attack
President Joe Biden wipes his eyes as Vice President Kamala Harris delivers remarks on the one year anniversary of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol
President Joe Biden pauses before he delivers remarks in Statuary Hall
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris arrive to speak from Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol to mark the one year anniversary of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol
President Biden puts his arm around Vice President Harris
Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden walk through the Hall of Columns after their remarks
President Joe Biden (center) walks through the Capitol Building with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (left) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (right)
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger is seen before President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris give remarks in the Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol
President Joe Biden, left, and Vice President Kamala Harris, hidden right, talk with Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot
In his speech, delivered in a nearly empty room, Biden spoke at length about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, offering his most detailed defense to date of his victory, which comes as Trump has continued to spout the so-called ‘big lie,’ that he lost out on a second term due to widespread election fraud.
Kamala Harris compares January 6 to Pearl Harbor and 9/11
‘Certain dates echo throughout history, including dates that instantly remind all who have lived through them where they were and what they were doing, when our democracy came under assault,’ Harris began. ‘December 7, 1941, September 11, 2001 and January 6, 2021.’
Harris alluded to civil rights fights of the past century.
‘What the extremists who roamed these halls targeted was not only the lives of elected leaders … what they were assaulting were the institutions, the values, the ideals that generations of Americans have marched, picketed and shed blood to establish and defend.’
‘We cannot let our future be decided by those bent on silencing our voices, overturning our votes, and peddling lies and misinformation by some radical faction that may be newly resurgent, but whose roots run old and deep.’
Harris then called the U.S. the ‘oldest and greatest democracy in the world.’
‘I wonder, how will January 6 be come to be remembered?’ Harris said. ‘Will it be remembered as a moment that accelerated the unraveling of the oldest and greatest democracy in the world? Or a moment when we decided to secure and strengthen our democracy for generations to come?’
Democracy was coined by the Greeks in 430 B.C., means ‘for the people’ and many communities such as Iceland, the Faroe Islands, the UK’s Isle of Man, San Marino and Switzerland have had so-called democracies dating back to the ninth and tenth centuries.
‘The big lie being told by the former president and many Republicans who fear his wrath is that the insurrection in this country actually took place on election day November 3, 2020,’ Biden noted.
The president said that Trump and his supporters are trying to ‘re-write history.’
‘That the riot that took place on January 6 is a true expression of the will of the people. Can you think of a more twisted way to look at this country, to look at America?’ Biden asked. ‘I cannot.’
‘Over 150 million Americans went to the polls and voted that day. In a pandemic. Some at great risk to their lives. They should be applauded not attacked,’ the president added.
He briefly mentioned Democrats’ voting rights push, pointing out how ‘new laws are being written not to protect the vote, but to deny it.’
Biden will travel to Georgia on Tuesday to give a broader voting rights address.
‘The former president and his supporters, the only way for them to win is to suppress your vote and subvert our elections,’ Biden said. ‘It’s wrong. It’s undemocratic, and frankly, it is un-American.’
The ‘second big lie,’ Biden continued, was Trump telling his supporters the results of the 2020 election can’t be trusted.
‘The truth is that no election, no election in American history, has been more closely scrutinized or more carefully counted,’ the president pointed out.
‘He was just looking for an excuse, a pretext to cover for the truth,’ Biden said. ‘He is not just a former president, he is a defeated former president.’
‘Defeated by a margin of over 7 million of your votes. In a full and free and fair election,’ Biden continued. ‘There is simply zero proof the election results were inaccurate.’
A ‘third big lie,’ Biden said, came when Trump and his supporters called the MAGA mob who stormed the Capitol ‘the nation’s true patriots.’
‘Is that what you thought when you looked at the mob ransacking the capitol, destroying property, literally defecating in the hallways?’ the president said. ‘Going through the desks of senators and representative. Hunting down members of Congress.’
‘Patriots?’ Biden asked. ‘Not in my view.’
Biden said the true patriots were the country’s voters, the election workers and law enforcement who defended the Capitol on January 6.
‘You can’t love your country only when you win,’ he said. ‘You can’t obey the law only when it is convenient. You can’t be patriotic when you embrace and enable lies.’
Biden never used Trump’s name during the Thursday morning address, instead referring to him as ‘the former president.’
‘I didn’t want to make it a contemporary political battle,’ Biden told reporters after he concluded his speech.
In a statement after Biden’s speech, Trump again called the election ‘rigged’ and repeated ‘the Big Lie was the Election itself.’
‘This political theater is all just a distraction for the fact Biden has completely and totally failed,’ Trump added, pointing to inflation, Afghanistan, the migrant crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border and the continued coronavirus pandemic, including school closures.
A large group of police arrive at the Capitol on Thursday morning
The Capitol is seen at dawn, one year after the violent Jan. 6 insurrection by supporters of then-President Donald Trump
U.S. Capitol Police keep watch on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan, 6
Snow on grounds of Capitol Hill on the morning of January 6th
U.S. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger stands outside the U.S. Capitol on the first anniversary of the January 6, 2021 attack
Members of U.S. Capitol Police arrive for duty
The Capitol building was quiet Thursday morning as Democrats prepared to spend the day in remembrance.
There was a heavy police presence and several metal interlocking barricades surrounding the building.
Snow was on the ground from the storm earlier in the week.
Upon arriving at the Capitol, the president told reporters, ‘I’m praying that we never have another day like we had a year ago today. That’s what I’m praying.’
He was escorted into the building by Democratic leaders, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Republicans have accused Democrats of playing politics with the anniversary.
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell called January 6 a ‘dark day’ in a statement but then pivoted to attacking Democrats for trying to change Senate rules in order to pass voting rights legislation.
‘It has been stunning to see some Washington Democrats try to exploit this anniversary to advance partisan policy goals that long predated this event,’ McConnell said. ‘It is especially jaw-dropping to hear some Senate Democrats invoke the mob’s attempt to disrupt our country’s norms, rules, and institutions as a justification to discard our norms, rules, and institutions themselves.’
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and close friend to Trump, reacted to Biden’s speech by saying, ‘What brazen politicization of January 6 by President Biden.’
‘I wonder if the Taliban who now rule Afghanistan with al-Qaeda elements present, contrary to President Biden’s beliefs, are allowing this speech to be carried?’ Graham added.
Trump was supposed to address reporters Thursday from his Mar-a-Lago resort, but called off the press conference Tuesday night.
Statuary Hall, which is the original House chamber in the U.S. Capitol Building, was set up like a TV studio in advance of the occasion
Workers clean the Statuary Hall stage before President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris arrived Thursday morning
DC Metropolitan Police Department officer Michael Fanone arrives in the Hall of Columns on the first anniversary of attack on the Capitol
The Biden administration has been reluctant to directly discuss Trump particularly given that the former president continues the false claim that he won the 2020 presidential election.
But White House press secretary Psaki did not mince words in her press briefing Wednesday about the administration’s view of Trump.
The former president addressed his supporters outside the White House on January 6, 2021 before they marched on the Capitol and tried to stop the certification of Biden’s victory.
House Democrats impeached Trump for his role but he was acquitted by the Senate.
Biden has been ‘clear eyed about the threat the former president represents to our democracy and how the former president constantly works to constantly undermine basic American values and rule of law,’ Psaki said.
Rioters breached the Capitol on January 6 during a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally which claimed Donald Trump had won the election as Congress met to count electoral votes and certify Joe Biden’s presidential election win
Thousands of Trump supporters are seen on January 6, 2021, marching towards the Capitol
The riot of January 6 left 150 members of law enforcement injured, and cost five their lives
Donald Trump, above, speaks to his supporters outside the White House on the morning of January 6th
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a day-long slate of events planned for the one-year anniversary of the January 6th insurrection – above she is seen with then-Vice President Mike Pence ahead of the joint session of Congress on that day
She noted that Biden sees January 6th as a ‘tragic culmination of what those four years under President Trump did to our country.’
Democrats, meanwhile, are ramping up their probe of the January 6th insurrection ahead of Thursday’s one-year anniversary, considering ‘Watergate-style’ prime-time hearings with a bold-faced witness wish list that includes Mike Pence and Sean Hannity.
Democratic plans for marking one-year anniversary of January 6th riot in Capitol
9 am: President Biden and Vice President Harris deliver remarks in National Statuary Hall in the Capitol
10 am: Speaker Nancy Pelosi hold a closed-press Moment of Reflection on the House floor
12 pm: A statement from Speaker Pelosi and a Moment of Silence on the House Floor
1 pm: Dr. Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress; Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin; and Historian Jon Meacham moderate a conversation with Speaker Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer
2:30 pm: Democratic Rep. Jason Crow leads lawmakers in giving testimonials about what they experienced on January 6th
5:30 pm: Pelosi and Schumer lead a Bicameral Prayer Vigil on Capitol Center Steps
In a bid capitalize on the anniversary, Democrats on committee are looking to crank up the pace of their probe and draw a massive audience with prime-time hearings.
‘I have favored this strategy from the beginning,’ Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, a member of the panel, told MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Wednesday.
He said he wanted a Watergate-style approach, when the 1973 hearings into Richard Nixon’s presidency captivated America. At one point an estimated 85% of the country was tuned in to them.
‘I remember as a kid getting to watch a bit of the Watergate hearings, which were a daily spectacle that the whole country tuned into,’ Raskin said. ‘If we can do that for, you know, a break-in in a couple of offices in the Watergate hotel, certainly, we can do it for a massive break-in into the Capitol of the United States, a storming, and a seizure essentially of our government offices, an interruption of the peaceful transfer of power.’
Those prime-time hearings could occur in late March or early April, Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, told Bloomberg News.
But no date has been set yet.
‘We’re working toward that,’ Thompson said.
Those hearings would also feature high-profile witnesses, which would help them gain maximum exposure. Among those names beiing considered are former Vice President Mike Pence and Fox News host Sean Hannity.
Pence was under heavy pressure from Trump to declare the 2020 election results invalid, wipe out Joe Biden’s victory and secure him a second term.
The vice president has the symbolic role of presiding over the Electoral College certification of results. Pence was a target of the January 6th rioters, some of who threatened to hang him, and was evacuated from the Senate floor as the MAGA supporters stormed the Capitol.
Thompson told CNN that he and the panel would like to hear from Pence.
‘I would hope that he would do the right thing and come forward and voluntarily talk to the committee,’ he said.
‘We have not formally asked. But if he offered, we’d gladly accept. Everything is under consideration,’ he added.
So far, in its investigation, the committee has interviewed more than 300 witnesses, announced more than 50 subpoenas, obtained more than 35,000 pages of records and received hundreds of telephone tips through their Jan. 6 tipline, according to a tally by The Washington Post.
Names are starting to be lined up for hearings.
The panel on Tuesday asked longtime Trump supporter Sean Hannity to appear as a ‘fact witness’ in their investigation, noting how the Fox star was ‘expressing concerns and providing advice to the president and White House staff.’
The committee released several texts Hannity sent to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
‘I’m very worried about the next 48 hours,’ Hannity wrote on the eve of January 6th.
On January 5, the eve of the Capitol attack, Hannity also texted to Meadows, ‘Pence pressure. WH counsel will leave.’
In the letter to Hannity, Thompson wrote the texts suggest ‘that you had knowledge of concerns by President Trump’s White House Counsel’s Office regarding the legality of the former President’s plans for January 6th.’
‘These facts are directly relevant to our inquiry,’ Thompson told Hannity.
Thompson also said that Hannity appeared to have ‘detailed knowledge regarding President Trump’s state of mind in the days following the January 6th attack.’
One of Hannity’s texts indicated he had a discussion with Trump on January 10 and it left the Fox News host concerned in the lead-up to President Joe Biden’s January 20 inauguration.
‘Guys, we have a clear path to land the plane in 9 days,’ Hannity informed Meadows and Republican Rep. Jim Jordan.
‘He can’t mention the election again. Ever. I did not have a good call with him today. And worse, I’m not sure what is left to do or say, and I don’t like not knowing if it’s truly understood. Ideas?’
On his Fox News show on Tuesday evening, Hannity launched into a stinging rebuke of DC officials and their ‘willing accomplices’ but didn’t mention the letter from the House committee investigating the MAGA riot.
‘I have an important message to all you elected swamp creatures in Washington, D.C., your willing accomplices, your press secretaries in the media mob,’ he began.
‘It is frankly repulsive, just repulsive that all of you sycophants, you sit idly by, you say nothing, you do nothing, as Joe Biden completely mismanages COVID-19,’ he said.
Many Republican lawmakers criticized Trump in the immediate wake of January 6th – some even called him that day to encourage him to try and call off the rioters. But, many of them also have made amends with the former president in the months following particularly as Trump continues to hold a tight grip on Republican base.