Biden’s remarks set the tone for a day of solemn reflection in the Home, the place lawmakers lined up in a Home workplace constructing to recall their very own experiences fleeing the pro-Trump mob. The household of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died of a stroke the day after the assault, was amongst the attendees.
The occasion was a remembrance of the risk to the peaceable switch of energy and a tribute to the regulation enforcement officers who prevented it — but in addition, pointedly, a reminder of Republicans now looking for to distance themselves from it. Solely Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the vice chair of the choose committee investigating the assault, walked the halls all through the day, accompanied by her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney.
In his remarks, Biden defended the integrity of the 2020 election and immediately refuted the long-running effort by Trump and his allies to sow doubt about the vote. The president additionally countered Republicans who’ve urged Democrats to maneuver previous the revolt and give attention to the future.
“This isn’t about being slowed down in the previous,” Biden stated. “That is about ensuring the previous isn’t buried. That’s what nice nations do. They do not bury the reality.”
Calling out Trump and his GOP allies marks a notable tonal shift for Biden. Since taking workplace, he is largely avoiding immediately confronting a foe he might face once more in 2024. However Biden hewed to certainly one of his post-election conventions on Thursday: He didn’t use Trump’s title whereas criticizing the former president.
“I didn’t need it to show into a up to date political battle between me and the [former] president,” Biden defined to reporters after the speech.
Trump responded with a meandering assertion that blasted Biden for having “used my title in the present day to attempt to additional divide America” and went after the president’s method to inflation, Afghanistan and immigration.
However certainly one of the former president’s fiercest foes took a notably completely different tack. After attending a second of silence in the Home, the Cheneys provided sharp phrases for their occasion.
“It’s not a management that resembles any of the of us I knew once I was right here for 10 years,” the former vice chairman advised reporters, when requested about how Republican leaders have been dealing with the Capitol assault.
The 2, who had been the solely Republicans on the flooring for Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s remarks on the flooring, have been later greeted with handshakes by almost each Democrat in the chamber. Even the senior Cheney appeared to obtain a heat welcome from Democrats — a scene few senior Democrats would have predicted 15 years in the past, when their occasion claimed the Home majority after years bludgeoning him as the face of then-President George W. Bush’s international coverage.
Other than Cheney, the solely GOP presence at the Capitol on Thursday was Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who assembled a press convention to push unsupported conspiracy theories about the reason behind the assault.
The Home was not in session, however almost 30 Democrats trekked to Washington to the occasions marking one yr since the assault. Most have been members who have been trapped in the Home gallery as rioters broke into the constructing on Jan. 6, 2021. Lawmakers gave their very own emotional testimonials Thursday afternoon, addressing a small group of lawmakers, workers and different attendees, together with the mother and father of Sicknick, the Capitol Police officer who died a day after the assault.
The string of occasions on Thursday, deliberate by Pelosi, have been supposed to give attention to those that endured the assault in the Capitol, quite than these accountable for the violence. Along with the second of silence and member testimonials, Democrats additionally held a night prayer vigil on the Capitol steps, the place members huddled in near-freezing temperatures for a remaining reflection of the day.
Pelosi, reflecting on what Jan. 6 means for the state of democracy, stated Thursday that the Capitol assault was a reminder to all the time be vigilant — and that democracy is a piece in progress.
“[Democracy] isn’t dying,” Pelosi stated in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Thursday evening in the Capitol. “Nevertheless it wants consideration.”
Earlier, Pelosi additionally held a non-public occasion the place she personally thanked constructing workers for their position in defending the Capitol and their members. Afterwards, workers, together with Capitol Law enforcement officials, have been handled to a lunch donated by superstar chef and philanthropist José Andrés. The meal was served by a number of Democrats who had been in the chamber throughout the riot.
Senate Democrats additionally spent a part of Thursday commemorating the Jan. 6 assault, holding a collection of speeches and a second of silence, although a vote was not scheduled and lots of members have been in Atlanta for the funeral of former Sen. Johnny Isakson.
In his flooring speech, Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer recalled the second when a police officer grabbed his collar and knowledgeable him he was at risk: “I used to be inside 30 ft of those nasty, racist, bigoted insurrectionists.”
“I used to be advised later certainly one of them reportedly stated, ‘There’s the massive Jew, let’s get him,’” Schumer stated.
However whereas the emotional aftershocks in the Capitol remained a key focus, Biden and lots of Democrats additionally sought to display the stark distinction between their occasion and the GOP, most of whose members stay deeply loyal to Trump. GOP leaders have urged their colleagues to spend the day centered on the safety flaws at the Capitol quite than have interaction in any direct validation of the traumatic results of the riot.
A smaller variety of Home Republicans, significantly a few of the 10 who joined Democrats to question Trump for inciting the riot final yr, continued to sentence the former president.
“Any cheap individual might have seen the potential for violence that day. But, our President did nothing to guard our nation and cease the violence. The actions of the President on January sixth have been nothing in need of reprehensible,” Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.), certainly one of the 10 who voted to question Trump, stated in a press release.
Senate Minority Chief Mitch McConnell, who stated the mob was “provoked by” Trump in the fast aftermath of the riot, launched a Thursday assertion that didn’t point out Trump by title. McConnell referred to as the Capitol assault a “disgraceful scene” and “antithetical to the rule of regulation,” although he additionally blasted Democrats’ try to make use of the anniversary to advance election reforms as exploitative.
Vice President Kamala Harris alluded to that messaging in her remarks Thursday, calling on the Senate to advance voting rights laws.
“Right here, on this very constructing, a choice can be made about whether or not we uphold the proper to vote and guarantee free and honest election,” Harris stated. “We can’t sit on the sidelines.”
Marianne LeVine and Olivia Beavers contributed to this report.