WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden marked the first anniversary of the U.S. Capitol insurrection Thursday by delivering remarks tailored to the “singular responsibility” former president Donald Trump had in the deadly assault on the Capitol.
“We saw it with our own eyes,” Biden said at Statuary Hall. “For the first time in our history, a president not just lost an election, he tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob breached the Capitol, but they failed.”
“Democracy was attacked,” he added. “We the people endure. We the people prevailed.”
He encouraged Americans to recognize the truth and lies of the events of Jan. 6. In his speech, he criticized Trump’s role in the insurrection and the actions of those who participated.
“This was an armed insurrection. They were looking to deny the will of the people. They were looking to subvert the Constitution,” Biden said. “This is about making sure the past isn’t buried. That’s the only way forward.”
The president said the country is in “a battle for the soul of America” as he criticized Trump’s response to the Capitol attack.
“The former president created and spread a web of lies. He values power over principle. Bruised ego matters more to him than democracy. He can’t accept he lost,” Biden said, referring to Trump but not directly by name.
Biden vowed to protect the country and “allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of democracy.”
In remarks, Vice President Kamala Harris recalled her Jan. 6 experience and encouraged Americans to “unite in defense of our democracy.” She said the future of the nation’s democracy is at stake.
“They were assaulting the institutions, the values, and ideas that generations of Americans have fought, picketed and marched to establish and defend,” Harris said.
One year ago, hundreds of supporters of Trump stormed the Capitol after Trump’s rally while Congress was certifying the 2020 presidential election. Four people died on the day of the riot, and one Capitol police officer died the day after defending Congress. Dozens of police were injured during the event and four officers have since taken their own lives.
A series of remembrance events coordinated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will take place following Biden’s speech, including a moment of silence on the House floor and testimonials from lawmakers about the harrowing attack. Few Republicans were in attendance.
Trump canceled a scheduled news conference on Thursday at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, citing what he called the “bias and dishonesty” of the House of Representatives probe of the attacks and the media.
More than 700 people have been charged in more than 45 states for their involvement in the insurrection. The Capitol attack has led to Trump’s second impeachment by the House of Representatives and launched one of the largest investigations in FBI history.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.