Biden decries Trump backers’ ‘dagger at throat’ of democracy

FILE - People listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a rally Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Thursday forcefully condemned Donald Trump’s relentless election-overturning efforts that sparked the deadly breach of the Capitol by his supporters and continues to motivate deep national division.

He marked the anniversary by saying the rioters had held a “dagger at the throat of democracy” but failed to succeed.

Biden’s criticism was blistering of the defeated president whom he blamed for the attack that has fundamentally changed Congress and the nation, 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. “You can’t love your country only when you win.”

His voice booming at times, filling the ornate Statuary Hall where rioters had laid siege, the president called on Americans to remember what they saw Jan. 6 with their own eyes: the mob attacking police, breaking windows, a Confederate flag inside the Capitol, gallows erected outside threatening to hang the vice president — all while Trump sat at the White House watching it on TV.

More coverage from The Associated Press

‘I trusted the President’: Jan. 6 rioters in their own words
Trump maintains grip on GOP despite violent insurrection
A year after Jan. 6, Congress more deeply divided than ever

“The former president’s supporters are trying to rewrite history. They want you to see Election Day as the day of insurrection and the riot that took place here on January 6 as 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? I cannot.”

The president’s remarks launched the start of daylong remembrance, drawing a contrast between the truth of what happened and the false narratives that persist about the Capitol assault, including the continued refusal by many Republicans to affirm that Biden won the 2020 election.

“We must be absolutely clear about what is true and what is a lie,” he said. “The former president of the United States of America has spread a web of lies about the 2020 election.”

You can watch the president’s speech below:

 

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