Early Thursday morning, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took to Statuary Hall in the Capitol Building to address the nation on the anniversary of the January 6 riots. Vice President Harris began with her remarks, during which she compared the events of January 6, 2021 to Pearl Harbor and the September 11 attacks on the country. Harris also used her time to encourage Congress to pass legislation regarding voting rights – something that would call for radical changes to the rules of the Senate in order to pass, such as changing the rules around the filibuster. However, her speech would be greatly overshadowed by President Biden’s remarks.
When President Biden stepped to the microphone, he used the opportunity to blame former President Trump for the riots as well as make attacks on Trump’s personal character. Biden referred to former President Trump as a “defeated former president.”
Biden’s speech accused former President Trump of spreading “a web of lies” regarding the 2020 election. He also said that President Trump “rallied the mob to attack” while Trump sat back and watched the happenings on television, doing “nothing (to stop the attack) for hours.”
Biden would say that Trump “values power over principle,” and the president would claim that former President Trump cares only for his own interest rather than what is best for the American people. Biden referred to Trump possessing a bruised ego after the election.
However, Biden’s spiteful words did not stop there. He continued to provide a verbal berating to the former president, but he also laid the blame for the happenings of January 6 on Republicans in Congress as well.
Biden called out Republicans who have remained loyal to Donald Trump, saying that these members of the GOP “seem to no longer want to be the party of Lincoln, Eisenhower, Reagan, or the Bushes.” Biden said that Republicans whom he claimed are working with Trump to promulgate “the Big Lie” regarding the 2020 elections “fear (Trump’s) wrath.”
After making numerous verbal jabs at both Former President Trump and Republicans in general, Biden then fired off his message for America. Like Vice President Harris before him, Biden urged Congress to quickly pass bills regarding voting. Again, in order to get these bills passed, the Democrats will have to garner sixty votes in the Senate or they will have to change rules about how the filibuster operates.
This isn’t the first time Americans have heard a twittering out of Washington regarding the filibuster. It was mentioned prior to the Build Back Better bill being passed in the House. However, many politicians are loathe to make this change as it could set a dangerous precedent.
Biden repeatedly called any claims that Trump was cheated out of a victory on November 3, 2020 lies or “the Big Lie.” He then used the word “truth” multiple times throughout his early morning speech. He said that America had to “recognize the truth,” and he made Biblical allusions about “truth.”
Biden’s speech was rhetorical genius, but, it was also a lost opportunity. Biden campaigned on being a great uniter, a centrist who could work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Today, it is highly likely that he missed a great opportunity to try to bring both parties together and help America move forward from all this divisiveness. Biden’s rhetoric and his metaphorical comparisons were beautiful, but, they were verbal spears of hatred that can only serve to separate Americans even further.
True to form, however, Former President Donald Trump responded shortly to Biden’s speech. Trump released a statement saying: “(Biden) used my name to try to further divide America.” Trump also referred to the speech as mere political theater, and he inferred that Biden is using the rhetoric in the speech to draw attention away from the failures of the Biden Administration in its first year.
Trump pointed out the disastrous Southern border, the Biden Administration’s handling of COVID, and the Afghanistan exit as just a few failures of President Joe Biden’s first year in office. He also took a shot at the January 6 committtee, headed by Liz Cheney, who are in the process of issuing subpoenas for a variety of Trump supporters in order to investigate the causes of the riots on Capitol Hill.
Trump ended his statement by saying that Americans see through the words and actions of the Democratic party.