U.S. President Joe Biden is set to speak Thursday about the historical significance of last year’s attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
The address, on the one-year anniversary of the assault, will feature Biden speaking from the Capitol’s Statuary Hall along with Vice President Kamala Harris.
“The president is going to speak to the truth of what happened, not the lies that some have spread since and the peril it has posed to the rule of law and our system of democratic governance,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at a Tuesday briefing. “He will also mark that day, commemorate the heroes of January 6th, especially the brave men and women of law enforcement who fought to uphold the Constitution and protect the Capitol and the lives of the people who were there. Because of their efforts, our democracy withstood an attack from a mob, and the will of the more than 150 million people who voted in the presidential election was ultimately registered by Congress.”
The pro-Trump mob stormed the seat of Congress as lawmakers inside were meeting to certify the results of the November 2020 election, overpowering the massively outnumbered Capitol Police officers on duty, smashing windows and vandalizing the historic building, and sending the lawmakers fleeing for safety.
Only hours later, after federal law enforcement agencies and the military arrived to reestablish control of the Capitol, were the members of Congress able to complete their work and certify Biden’s election win and set the stage for his inauguration weeks later.
Four people died on the day of the assault, including a Capitol police officer who died the next day. The mob injured dozens of officers, and in the months since the attack four officers have died by suicide.
Trump had planned to hold a news conference Thursday in Florida, but said Tuesday he was cancelling the event. In a statement that stated his often repeated but false claim that he actually won the 2020 election, Trump said he would instead discuss “important topics” at a January 15 rally in Arizona.
Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law, told Agence France-Press that Trump’s campaign is “unprecedented in U.S. history.”
“No former president has attempted to do so much to discredit his successor and the democratic process,” Tobias said.
Public opinion polls have shown about 70% of Republicans do not consider Biden’s election win legitimate.
Some information for this report came from the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.