Udayavni Special

US President Joe Biden terms Jan 6 Capitol riot ‘existential crisis’


PTI, Jul 7, 2021, 9:48 AM IST

Washington DC: President Joe Biden has said that the January 6 riot at the US Capitol was not dissent but disorder and termed the “vicious attack” an “existential crisis”, asserting that while the American democracy survived, it must be protected by standing up to hate, lies and extremism.

President Biden issued a statement on Tuesday recognising the six-month mark of the insurrection while seeking national unity to restore decency, honour and respect for the rule of law.

“Together, let us demonstrate to ourselves, and to the world, the enduring strength and the limitless capacity and goodness of who we are as Americans,” Biden said.

“Not even during the Civil War did insurrectionists breach our Capitol, the citadel of our democracy. But six months ago today, insurrectionists did. They launched a violent and deadly assault on the people’s house, on the people’s representatives, and on the Capitol police sworn to protect them, as our duly elected Congress carried out the sacred ritual of our republic and certified the Electoral College vote,” he said.

In an unprecedented assault on democracy in America, thousands of angry supporters of ex-president Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol on January 6 and clashed with police, resulting in casualties and interrupting a constitutional process to affirm Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.

The police, outnumbered by the maskless protesters, had a tough time in managing the mob, as hundreds of protesters breached security and entered the Capitol building, where members of the Congress were going through the process of counting and certifying the Electoral College votes Both the House and Senate and the entire Capitol were placed under lockdown. Former vice president Mike Pence and lawmakers were evacuated to safe locations.

“This was not dissent. It was disorder. It posed an existential crisis and a test of whether our democracy could survive—a sad reminder that there is nothing guaranteed about our democracy,” Biden said.

“But while it shocked and saddened the nation and the world, six months later, we can say unequivocally that democracy did prevail—and that we must all continue the work to protect and preserve it,” he said.

Biden said to protect democracy required people of goodwill and courage to stand up to the hate, lies, and the extremism that led to this “vicious attack”.

He said it includes determining what happened so that “we can remember it and not bury it hoping we forget”.

“It requires all of us working together—Democrats, Republicans, and independents—on behalf of the common good to restore decency, honour, and respect for the rule of law. And it impels our government—both the executive and legislative branches—to take the urgent steps needed to protect the fundamental right to vote,” he said.

“It also requires all of us to remember who we are as a nation at our best—and that we are so much better than what we saw on January 6th. We are the United States of America, and over the last few months we have shown what we can do when we come together—beat a deadly virus, get our economy going again, and prove that democracy can deliver for the people,” Biden said.

The attack was possibly for the first time in recent history that such a large number of people had breached into the Capitol and disrupted the constitutional provisions. Congress had certified just 12 votes before the riots broke out. All 12 of those votes went to President Trump. There are 538 electoral votes in total.

Trump – who lost the popular and electoral college vote – continued to dispute the results. He alleged that there was massive voters’ fraud and electoral malpractice. The election officials, however, denied the allegations.

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