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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Thursday forcefully condemned Donald Trump’s election “big lie” that sparked the deadly breach of the Capitol by his supporters and continues to motivate deep national division. He marked the anniversary of the insurrection by declaring he will stand and fight for “the soul of America.”
Biden’s criticism was blistering of the “defeated president” who he blamed for the attack that has fundamentally changed Congress and raised global concerns about the future of American democracy.
“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. “But they failed.”
His voice booming at times, filling the ornate hall with statues of the country's leaders and heroes, he said called on Americans to see Jan. 6 for what it was.
“Democracy was attacked,” Biden said at the Capitol. “We the people endure. We the people prevailed.”
Tune in as I deliver remarks to mark one year since the January 6th deadly assault on the Capitol. https://t.co/nvklC2pgl8— President Biden (@POTUS) January 6, 2022
The president and congressional Democrats started the day in Statuary Hall, one of several spots where rioters swarmed a year ago and interrupted the electoral count. Biden drew a contrast between the truth of what happened and the false narratives that have sprung up about the Capitol assault, including the continued refusal by many Republicans to affirm that Biden won the 2020 election.
“You and I and the whole world saw with our own eyes,” Biden said.
He asked those listening to close their eyes and recall what they saw that day, as he described the harrowing, violent scene, the mob attacking police, threatening the House speaker, erecting gallows threatening to hang the vice president — all while Trump sat at the White House watching it on TV.
“Here is the God’s truth about Jan. 6, 2021,” Biden said. ”They were looking to subvert the Constitution."
“We must be absolutely clear about what is true and what is a lie. Here's the truth,” he said. "The former president of the United States of America has spread a web of lies about the 2020 election."
“We are in a battle for the soul of America.”
“I did not seek this fight, brought to this Capitol one year from today. But I will not shrink from it either. I will stand in this breach, I will defend this nation. I will allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of this democracy.”