Thursday marks one year since a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol building hoping to block lawmakers from certifying Joe Biden’s 2020 election win.
Biden is marking the anniversary with a speech at the Capitol in which he strongly condemned the violence and said Trump “has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election.
“For the first time time in our history a president not just lost the election, he tried to prevent a peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob breached the capitol,” Biden said.
“We must make sure that never happens again.”
Speaking before Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris said that the “American spirit is being tested.”
“The answer to whether we will meet that test resides where it has always resided in our country, with you, the people,” she said.
Harris said “the work ahead will not be easy,” and called on the Senate to pass voting rights legislation — an unlikely prospect unless the Senate changes its’ rules to prevent a Republican-led filibuster.
“We cannot sit on the sidelines,” Harris said. “We must unite in defense of our democracy.”
While Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called Jan. 6th “a dark day for our country,” he accused Democrats of trying to “exploit this anniversary to advance partisan policy goals that long predated this event.”
He added: “It is especially jaw-dropping to hear some Senate Democrats invoke the mob’s attempt to disrupt our country’s norms, rules, and institutions as a justification to discard our norms, rules, and institutions themselves.”
Democratic lawmakers have planned a daylong series of events at the Capitol to mark the anniversary, ranging from a moment of silence on the House floor at noon ET to a conversation with historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Jon Meacham, moderated by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden at 1 p.m. ET. The purpose is “to establish and preserve the narrative” of Jan. 6, according to a statement by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
There will also be a prayer vigil on the Capitol steps led by Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer at 5:30 p.m. ET. Lawmakers will also have the opportunity to share their reflections of the day.
The day’s events, Pelosi said, “are intended as an observance of reflection, remembrance and recommitment, in a spirit of unity, patriotism and prayerfulness.”