Excerpts from the remarks made by President Joe Biden on January 6, 2022 in Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol:
For the first time in our history, a president had not just lost an election, he tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob breached the Capitol.
But they failed. They failed.
And on this day of remembrance, we must make sure that such an attack never, never happens again.
Close your eyes. Go back to that day. What do you see? Rioters rampaging, waving for the first time inside this Capitol the Confederate flag that symbolizes the cause to destroy America, to rip us apart.
Even during the Civil War that never, ever happened.
But it happened here in 2021. What else do you see? The mob breaking windows, kicking in doors, breaching the Capitol. American flags on poles being used as weapons, as spears. Fire extinguishers being thrown at the heads of police officers.
A crowd that professes their love for law enforcement assaulted those police officers. Dragged them, sprayed them, stomped on them.
Over 140 police officers were injured.
We didn’t see a former president, who had just rallied the mob to attack – sitting in the private dining room of 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.
This wasn’t a group of tourists. This was an armed insurrection.
They weren’t looking to uphold the will of the people, they were looking to deny the will of the people.
They weren’t looking to uphold a free and fair election, they were looking to overturn one.
They weren’t looking to save the cause of America, they were looking to subvert the Constitution.
And here is the truth: The former president of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election.
He’s done so because he values power over principle, because he sees his own interest as more important than his country’s interest, than America’s interest, and because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution.
He can’t accept he lost even though that’s what 93 United States senators, his own attorney general, his own vice president, governors and state officials in every battleground state have all said: He lost.
That’s what 81 million of you did as you voted for a new way forward.
He’s done what no president in American history, in the history of this country, has ever, ever done: He refused to accept the results of an election and the will of the American people.
And so, at this moment, we must decide: What kind of nation are we going to be?
Are we going to be a nation that accepts political violence as a norm?
Are we going to be a nation where we allow partisan election officials to overturn the legally expressed will of the people?
Are we going to be a nation that lives not by the light of the truth but in the shadow of lies?
We cannot allow ourselves to be that kind of nation. The way forward is to recognize the truth and to live by it.
Instead of looking at the election results from 2020 and saying they need new ideas or better ideas to win more votes, the former president and his supporters have decided the only way for them to win is to suppress your vote and subvert our elections.
It’s wrong. It’s undemocratic. And frankly, it’s un-American.
The second ‘Big Lie’ being told by the former president’s supporters is that the results of the election of 2020 can’t be trusted.
The truth is that no election, no election in American history has been more closely scrutinized or more carefully counted.
So, let’s speak plainly about what happened in 2020. Even before the first ballot was cast, the former president was preemptively sowing doubt about the election results. He built his lie over months. It wasn’t based on any facts. He was just looking for an excuse – a pretext – to cover for the truth.
He’s not just a former president. He’s a defeated former president – defeated by a margin of over seven million of your votes in a full and free and fair election.
Those who stormed this Capitol
and those who instigated and incited
and those who called on them to do so
held a dagger at the throat of America – at American democracy.