Joe Biden says Donald Trump spread 'web of lies' about 2020 US election as he condemns political violence one year since US Capitol riots

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  • Donald Trump
    Donald Trump
    45th President of the United States
  • Joe Biden
    Joe Biden
    46th and current president of the United States

President Joe Biden has marked one year since the deadly assault on the US Capitol by condemning political violence in an address to the nation, as he also hit out at his predecessor Donald Trump.

On 6 January 2021, Trump supporters stormed the complex in Washington DC.

Five people died, 15 police officers needed hospital treatment and millions of dollars worth of damage was caused.

Politicians were forced to run for safety as the mob tried to disrupt the certification of Mr Biden's election victory.

Hitting out at Trump

Following the unrest, Mr Trump was accused of encouraging rioters to march to the Capitol after falsely claiming Mr Biden's victory over him in the 2020 election was "stolen".

Marking the first anniversary of the insurrection, Mr Biden launched a scathing attack on Mr Trump.

Speaking from the Statuary Hall of the US Capitol, he said the former president has "spread a web of lies" about the election.

"He's done so because he values power over principle," Mr Biden said.

Mr Biden blamed the former Republican leader for the attack - which has fundamentally changed Congress and raised global concerns about the future of American democracy.

"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," Mr Biden said. "But they failed."

He said Mr Trump "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."

Mr Biden continued: "He has done what no president in American history has ever, ever done. He refused to accept the results of an election."

Condemning political violence

In his address, Mr Biden also asked Americans to close their eyes and recall what they saw on this date last year.

"Democracy was attacked," he said. "We the people endure. We the people prevailed."

He described the harrowing, violent scene of the riots, including the mob attacking police, threatening the House speaker, putting up gallows threatening to hang then-vice president Mike Pence - all while then-President Trump sat at the White House watching it on TV.

"Here is God's truth about 6 January 2021," Mr Biden said. "They were looking to subvert the constitution."

He asked the nation who they wanted to be as he reflected on the deadly event.

He said: "And so at this moment we must decide what kind of nation we are going to be.

"Are we going to be a nation that accepts political violence as a norm?"

He continued: "We cannot allow ourselves to be that kind of nation. The way forward is to recognise the truth and to live by it."

Trump responds

The former president has released a statement in response to Mr Biden's remarks, attacking the Democrat's leadership.

He said: "Biden, who is destroying our Nation with insane policies of open borders, corrupt elections, disastrous energy policies, unconstitutional mandates, and devastating school closures, used my name today to try to further divide America.

"This political theatre is all just a distraction for the fact Biden has completely and totally failed.

"Our country no longer has borders, has totally and completely lost control of COVID (record numbers!), is no longer energy independent, inflation is rampant, our military is in chaos, and our exit, or surrender, from Afghanistan, was perhaps the most embarrassing day in the long and distinguished history of the United States - and so much more."

He added that the Democrats "want to own this day of 6 January so they can stoke fears and divide America. I say, let them have it because America sees through their lies and polarisations".

Divide between parties

A series of remembrance events will be attended by Democrats throughout the day, in person and virtually, but almost every Republican on Capitol Hill will be absent - a stark reminder of the divide between the two parties.

While most congressional Republicans condemned the attack shortly after it occurred, most have stayed loyal to Mr Trump.

In December, the former president lost a bid to shield documents from a House committee investigation into the Capitol riots.

Documents including presidential diaries, visitor logs and speech drafts were ordered to be released after an appeals court rejected Mr Trump's arguments to keep the documents sealed.

The panel investigating the riots later revealed Donald Trump Jr texted the White House chief of staff during the Capitol riot, telling him his father had to "condemn this s*** ASAP".

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