Biden to warn against threats to democracy in Jan. 6 speech, will mark anniversary of Capitol riot


President Biden will mark on Thursday the first anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Capitol by warning against threats to democracy.

In an excerpt from Mr. Biden’s speech obtained by The Washington Times, the president will confront false claims by former President Trump and some of his followers that the 2020 election was marred by widespread fraud.

In a speech from the Capitol, Mr. Biden will underscore the need for Americans to push back against threats to democracy, connecting the Jan. 6 attack to his push to protect voting rights.

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“At this moment we must decide what kind of nation we are going to be,” Mr. Biden will say, according to the excerpt. “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?” he will say. “We cannot allow ourselves to be that kind of nation. The way forward is to recognize the truth and live by it.”

Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will speak Thursday morning at the Capitol to commemorate the anniversary of thousands of Trump supporters storming the building.

The chaos sent lawmakers hiding as the pro-Trump mob sought to delay Congress’ confirmation of Mr. Biden’s election victory.

The riot resulted in the death of four people, all Trump supporters, and one Capitol police officer who died the next day after fighting off attackers. Scores of police officers were injured, and four officers who responded to the onslaught have since taken their own lives.

The House impeached Mr. Trump a week later for inciting an insurrection, but the Senate acquitted him.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that Mr. Biden will discuss the responsibility he believes Mr. Trump had in sparking the attack.

“I would expect that President Biden will 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,” Ms. Psaki told reporters at a White House press briefing.

“He will forcibly push back on the lie spread by the former president in an attempt to mislead the American people and his own supporters, as well as distract from his role and what happened,” she continued.

When asked whether Mr. Biden will refer to Mr. Trump by name, Ms. Psaki said that was still up in the air but that there would be no doubt to whom he would refer.

Mr. Biden’s condemnation of attacks on democracy comes as Americans are increasingly viewing political violence as justified.

A Washington Post/University of Maryland poll released last week found that 34% of Americans think violence against the government is justified. That’s up from 23% of Americans who said violence is justified in 2015 and 16% who said the same thing in 2010, according to the poll.

A separate CBS News-YouGov poll released this week showed 62% of Americans said they expect the losing side in future presidential elections to react violently, with 38% saying they expect the losing side to concede peacefully.

The same poll also found that at least 25% of Americans said “force might be justified” to achieve a political or policy goal.

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