Republicans missing in action as Democrats emotionally commemorate Capitol riot anniversary

EMotions mounted on Capitol Hill as Democrats commemorated the first anniversary of when supporters of former President Donald Trump raided congressional headquarters, but Republicans were mostly absent from the action.

The solemn day began with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris addressing the nation from Statuary Hall, the same room where, as the President noted, Abraham Lincoln sat in Congress but was also flanked of a statue of Alexander Stephens, the Vice President of the Confederation, the last time white supremacists took up arms against democracy.

Mr. Biden made a strong denunciation of his predecessor without mentioning Mr. Trump by name.

“And here is the truth: The former President of the United States of America created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election,” Mr. Biden said. “He did it because he values ​​power over principle, because he sees his own interests as more important than the interests of his country and the interests of America, and because his bruised ego matters more. for him that our democracy or our Constitution. “

US President Joe Biden speaks in Statuary Hall on the first anniversary of the 6 January 2021 attack on the US Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

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US President Joe Biden speaks in Statuary Hall on the one-year anniversary of the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington.

(Reuters)

Mr Biden has torn Republicans across the country apart, explaining how they were trying to implement the former president’s lies about the election.

“Instead of looking at the 2020 election results and saying they need new ideas or better ideas to gain more votes, the former president and his supporters decided the only way for them to win was to suppress your vote and overthrow our elections, ”he said.

Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester, a Democrat who represents Mr. Biden’s home state of Delaware and was in the gallery on the day of the riot, congratulated the president.

“I thought it was clear,” she said The independent, noting how he “debunked the myths and lies.”

Throughout the day there were multiple tributes – from a moment of silence on the House floor, to several speeches by Democratic senators, to a ceremony where members shared their memories which also featured the cast of Hamilton sing a song at a candlelight vigil. the Hamilton cameo was greeted with less enthusiasm by political journalists covering the day’s events.

Democratic senators gave speeches commemorating the horrors of the riot a year earlier. But most Republicans were away all day. Republican senators were in Georgia to commemorate the late Senator Johnny Isakson, who died late last year.

Biden mocks Trump as “defeated president”

“I hope those who return will have the opportunity to table statements in the congressional record of their January 6 views and how violent assaults on democracy are intolerable,” said Representative Jamie Raskin of the Maryland, whose daughter and son-in-law were at the Capitol on the day of the uprising, says The independent after talking about a gathering with other members. “And for those who didn’t want to show up, then I think it’s shameful and outrageous.”

On the House side, Representative Liz Cheney was the only current Republican in the House who commemorated the attack alongside her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, who held the same Wyoming congressional seat. that his daughter now occupies. The former vice president told reporters that the current Republican leadership is “not a leadership like the ones I knew when I was here for 10 years.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was honored to welcome the former Vice President with whom she served in the House and then clashed frequently when Mr. Cheney was deputy. President of George W Bush.

“He has the right to speak as a former member of the House,” Ms Pelosi told reporters and said she congratulated him on the courage of her daughter, one of the few Republicans for voting to impeach the former president. When asked why no other Republican had come, Ms Pelosi replied: “you will have to ask them.”

The few other Congressional Republicans who spoke on the occasion were either defiant in their language, as was the case with Reps Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene, who appeared on Steve Bannon’s podcast, or focused their attention. anger on Mr. Biden. Representatives Greene and Gaetz argued at a press conference that the Capitol Riot amounted to a “distraction” from the larger task at hand – overthrowing the last presidential election.

One year after the violent insurrection at the Capitol, Rep Matt Gaetz, R-FL, left, and Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-GA, allies of former President Donald Trump, talk to reporters as they show a video to place responsibility on Democrats, the Capitol Police, and the federal government for the attack, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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A year after the violent insurgency on Capitol Hill, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-FL, left, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-GA, allies of former President Donald Trump, speak to reporters as they show a video to hold Democrats, Capitol Police and the federal government accountable for the attack on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)

(PA)

Senator Lindsey Graham, a former friend of the current president, called Mr Biden’s speech a “brazen politicization of January 6,” while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement Democrats wanted “Use this anniversary to advance partisan political goals that long predate this event.”

For her part, Ms Cheney said it was unfortunate that no other Republican attended the ceremonies.

“I think this reflects where our party is at,” Ms. Cheney said, adding that it was “of great concern.”

“I think the future of the country is at stake and there are times when we must all come together to defend the Constitution,” she added.

Ms Cheney remained a fierce critic of the former president, leading to her being ousted from her post as president of the House Republican Conference. She is now vice-chair of the special House committee to investigate the insurgency. At a rally, Mr. Raskin, who also sits on the committee, praised Republicans like her and Mr. Kinzinger.

When asked the former vice president what he thought of the way his daughter was treated by the GOP caucus he once led as House Minority Whip, he simply replied “ma girl can take care of herself “.

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