In a speech marking the one-year anniversary of the deadly Capitol riots, President Joe Biden has blamed Donald Trump for the January 6 Capitol riot – but refused to mention his predecessor by name.
Refusing to mention the former president by name a single time during his nearly 30-minute speech, Biden said that Trump had ‘created a web of lies’ in the wake of his 2020 election defeat, saying that ‘his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution’.
‘He’s not just a former president. He’s a defeated former president,’ he said in a televised address from the US Capitol.
Biden also condemned the Capitol rioters, who he said were attempting to carry out an ‘armed insurrection’ to overturn the election result with the support of Trump, accusing them of holding ‘a dagger at the throat of America – at American democracy’.
‘We saw with our own eyes rioters menace these halls, threatening the life of the Speaker of the House, literally erecting gallows to hang the Vice President of the United States of America,’ he said.
‘What did we not see? We didn’t see a former president, who had just rallied the mob to attack, sitting in the private dining room off the Oval Office in the White House, watching it all on television and doing nothing for hours as police were assaulted, lives at risk, the nation’s Capitol under siege.’
Elsewhere in the speech, Biden issued a warning that the United States was in ‘a battle for the soul of America’, claiming that Trump and his supporters were still attempting to subvert democracy, and calling on Americans to ‘decide what kind of nation are we going to be’.
‘I did not seek this fight brought to this Capitol one year ago today, but I will not shrink from it either. I will stand in this breach. I will defend this nation,’ he concluded.
In comments to journalists reported by CNN following his speech, Biden explained that he chose not to use Trump’s name as he did ‘not want to turn it into a contemporary political battle’.
Biden also rejected questions as to whether his speech could cause further divides, saying, ‘The way you have to heal [is] you have to recognize the extent of the wound. You can’t pretend…That’s what great nations do, they face the truth, deal with it, and move on.’
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