'Web of Lies' vs 'Political Theatre': Biden, Trump Exchange Accusations on Capitol Riot Anniversary
14:28 GMT 06.01.2022 (Updated: 15:27 GMT 06.01.2022)
© AFP 2022 / DREW ANGERERUS President Joe Biden speaks at the US Capitol on January 6, 2022, to mark the anniversary of the attack on the Capitol in Washington, DC. - Biden accused his predecessor Donald Trump of attempting to block the democratic transfer of power on January 6, 2021. "For the first time in our history, a president not just lost an election; he tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob breached the Capitol," Biden said.
This 6 January is the first anniversary of the US Capitol riot, when a mob of protesters marched on Capitol Hill, demanding that Congress reject the certification of the 2020 presidential election results.
US President Joe Biden - speaking in Washington, DC on the first anniversary of the Capitol riot, which he called an "armed insurrection" - accused his White House predecessor Donald Trump of creating a "web of lies" about the alleged election fraud to "pursue power over principle".
“One year ago, today, in this sacred place, democracy was simply attacked… Our Constitution faced the greatest of threats,” Biden said.
According to the president, Trump was trying to "prevent the peaceful transfer of power" when he opposed the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Biden said there is "zero proof" election results were inaccurate, and by rejecting the outcome of the White House race Trump put his interests above those of the nation.
“Even before the first ballot was cast, the former President was pre-emptively sowing doubt about the election results. He was just looking for an excuse, a pretext to cover for the truth. He's not just a former President. He's a defeated former President," Biden said.
During the Capitol riot, the then-president, Biden said, was “watching it all on television, and doing nothing for hours, as police were assaulted, lives put at risk, the nation’s capital under siege.”
"He can't accept he lost," Biden said, claiming that, for Trump supporters, "the only way to win [...] is to suppress your vote and overturn future elections.”
During his speech, the president also said he will "allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of democracy". According to Biden, the world is currently in a "struggle between democracy and autocracy".
Trump Fires Back
The former president was quick to respond to Biden's remarks.
"Biden, who is destroying our nation with insane policies of open borders, corrupt elections, disastrous energy policies, unconstitutional mandates, and devastating school closures, used my name today to try to further divide America," Trump stated.
In his statement, released moments after Biden's speech, the former president again invoked soaring US inflation, the bungled withdrawal from Afghanistan and "so much more".
"Why is the Unselect Committee of totally partisan hacks, whose judgement has long ago been made, not discussing the rigged presidential election of 2020?" he went on. "It's because they don't have the answers or justifications for what happened."
© AP Photo / Jose Luis MaganaIn this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo insurrections loyal to President Donald Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. U.S.
In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo insurrections loyal to President Donald Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. U.S.
© AP Photo / Jose Luis Magana
Biden spoke exactly a year after the Capitol was stormed and ransacked by a crowd of violent protesters who demanded that the congressional lawmakers overthrow the results of the 2020 presidential election - something Donald Trump thinks the Democrats "stole" from him via a massive "voter fraud".
The 6 January attack claimed five lives, including that of a Capitol police officer. Trump was accused of inciting the insurrection, with House Democrats impeaching him over the accusations. He vehemently denied any wrongdoing, and the Senate acquitted him after his presidential tenure ended.
The Capitol riot continues to steal the spotlight. In July, the House Select Committee was created to investigate the events but prompted little enthusiasm from the former president, who believes the panel is seeking to uncover evidence to prosecute him. The committee has requested his White House records from the time of the Capitol riot - something that Trump claims is unconstitutional, accusing the panel of "bias" and "dishonesty".