Biden Ramps Up Jan. 6 Attacks On Trump On Eve Of First 2024 Debate

On the eve of his first 2024 election debate with his recently convicted predecessor, President Joe Biden ramped up his criticism of Donald Trump’s actions leading up to and on the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol he incited in his last-gasp attempt to hang on to power.

Biden’s campaign on Wednesday morning rolled out an endorsement from former Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger, a member of the House Jan. 6 committee that investigated the assault. That was followed by the release of a new ad featuring a Michigan sheriff criticizing Trump for doing nothing for three hours while his followers violently attacked police officers protecting the Capitol.

A few hours later on Wednesday afternoon, Kinzinger appeared with Georgia’s former lieutenant governor, Geoff Duncan, and former Capitol police officer Harry Dunn at the statehouse in Atlanta for a news conference backing Biden.

“Going against the grain as a Republican supporting Democrat Joe Biden for president is not easy. But I’m not really looking at this election through the lens of being a Republican. I’m looking through the lens of being an American,” Duncan said, calling Trump “the morally bankrupt nominee” of his lifelong party. “Enough is enough. The nightmare has to end, and it has to end now.”

Trump campaign officials did not respond to HuffPost queries. Trump has personally attacked both Kinzinger and Duncan, who on Tuesday described how he had to get armed guards after the 2020 election when he refused to go along with Trump’s lies that the Georgia election had been stolen from him.

The press conference was staged at the foot of a grand staircase, the same spot where Gabriel Sterling, a Republican and a top Georgia election official, in December 2020 presciently warned that “someone’s going to get killed” if Trump continued pushing his false claims.

Duncan spent much of last year urging his fellow Republicans to break with Trump — at one point, he even said Trump had the moral compass of an axe murderer — and nominate someone else for president. He endorsed Biden last month after the GOP overwhelmingly chose Trump in its primaries.

Dunn has spent recent weeks traveling the country with Washington police officer Michael Fanone at Biden campaign events. Both men were assaulted on Jan. 6 by Trump supporters.

At the news conference in Atlanta, Dunn recalled how he and his fellow officers were beaten by Trump’s supporters with pro-police flags that had thin blue lines, a symbol meant to show support for law enforcement.

“Trump encouraged and continues to encourage political violence,” he said.

Trump was impeached for inciting the Capitol assault, which took place immediately after he urged tens of thousands of his followers — whom he had over the previous weeks called on to come to Washington on the day of the congressional certification ceremony — to march on the Capitol. At a rally by the White House, he told supporters they should demand that lawmakers reject Biden’s win and warned them that they would lose their country if they didn’t “fight like hell.”

Senate Republicans refused to convict Trump, which almost certainly would have led to a permanent ban on his seeking federal office ever again.

Trump is now facing two prosecutions, one federal and one in Georgia, for his attempt to overturn the 2020 election. He is also facing a second federal indictment based on his refusal to turn over secret documents he took with him to his South Florida country club upon leaving the White House.

Last month, he became the first former president in American history to become a convicted criminal after a New York City jury found him guilty on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in a scheme to keep a porn actor’s story of an affair with him out of the headlines ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Trump is to be sentenced for those crimes on July 11, two weeks after the debate and just four days before the start of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, where he is to formally receive the presidential nomination.

Thursday’s debate, hosted by CNN and simulcast by PBS and C-SPAN, is to begin at 9 p.m. EST and last 90 minutes. A second debate is to follow in September, hosted by ABC.