Biden Speech Will Blame Trump for Jan. 6

Biden Speech Will Blame Trump for Jan. 6 joe biden speaks in meeting President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting in the South Court Auditorium of the White House Dec. 22, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Thursday, 06 January 2022 08:13 AM

President Joe Biden, in his speech marking the first anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, will focus blame on then-President Donald Trump and will warn that the nation's peaceful democracy remains at risk after the former president's supporters' failed attempt to stop Congress from ratifying the results of Biden's 2020 election win.

Biden, in a 9 a.m. address from Statuary Hall inside the Capitol, 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 while previewing the speech, CNN reported on Thursday.

Biden will also "push back on the lie spread by the former president and [the] attempt to mislead the American people and his own supporters as well as distract from his role and what happened."

According to excerpts the White House released from Biden's speech early Thursday, the president is planning to insist that the "way forward is to recognize the truth and to live by it."

"At this moment we must decide what kind of nation we are going to be," the president is expected to say, according to the prepared remarks the White House released. "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."

One year ago today, protesters stormed the Capitol after Trump's rally on the Ellipse at the White House. The events of that day led to Trump facing a second impeachment hearing by the House of Representatives.

Eventually, the former president was acquitted by the Senate of charges of inciting an insurrection, but seven Republicans broke ranks to join all 50 Democrats in seeking conviction. However, the trial concluded with an insufficient 57-43 majority of senators voting to convict Trump.

Meanwhile, more than 700 people have been arrested in connection with the violence at the Capitol and a House select committee is investigating the events that led up to the attacks. Two of Trump's allies, his chief of staff Mark Meadows and one-time chief strategist Steve Bannon, have also been charged with criminal contempt for declining to cooperate with the investigation.

Republican leaders will remain officially silent Thursday, according to The New York Times, but Bannon will host a podcast featuring Trump allies Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. The two also said they are planning a press conference.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has planned a series of events on Thursday after Biden's speech, including a moment of silence on the House floor and statements from lawmakers, reports CNN.

The Jan. 6, 2021 protests occurred two weeks before Biden's inauguration, and on Thursday, the president will speak out about the "importance of history [and] of the peaceful transfer of power," as well as the "silence and complacency" among GOP lawmakers after the attack, said Psaki.

She added 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 will also speak on Thursday about the Jan. 6 incidents.

According to the White House, she'll say that "the insurrection was not just an assault on our Capitol, but an assault on our freedom and values," an official said.

"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 spokesperson said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Trump had been planning to hold a news conference on Thursday at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida about the anniversary of the Jan. 6 incidents, but canceled it, saying his decision was "in light of the total bias and dishonesty of the January 6th Unselect Committee of Democrats, two failed Republicans, and the Fake News Media."

He said he'll instead discuss the matter during a rally on Jan. 15 in Arizona.

In other events on Thursday, there will be a prayer and a moment of silence at noon on the House floor, following a moderated conversation featuring historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Jon Meacham. Pelosi said in a letter in December that the discussion will "establish and preserve the narrative of January 6."

Rep. Jason Crow will preside over planned testimonials from lawmakers. The Colorado Democrat was one of the lawmakers shown during the attack trapped inside the House chamber and helping a colleague who was in distress.

A prayer vigil will be held later Thurday on the center steps of the Capitol.

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., mentioned the Jan. 6 anniversary in a newsletter to GOP colleagues, but didn't mention Trump.

"The actions of that day were lawless and as wrong as wrong can be," he said. "Our Capitol should never be compromised and those who broke the law deserve to face legal repercussions and full accountability."

He also criticized Democrats in his letter, saying that one year later, the majority party "seems no closer to answering the central question of how the Capitol was left so unprepared and what must be done to ensure it never happens again. Instead, they are using it as a partisan political weapon to further divide our country."

The House is not in session on Thursday. Reportedly, several GOP lawmakers are heading to Georgia to attend a memorial service for late Sen. Johnny Isakson, who died on Dec. 19.

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