Biden expected to blame Trump for ‘carnage’ during Capitol riots last year
A mob allegedly incited by President Donald Trump storms the Senate side of the US Capitol in Washington DC last January. Photograph: Jason Andrew/The New York Times
US president Joe Biden is expected to squarely blame his predecessor Donald Trump for the riots at the Capitol in Washington in an address today to mark the anniversary of the events that took place on January 6th 2021.
The White House said that it expected Mr Biden would “lay out the significance of what happened at the Capitol and the singular responsibility President Trump has for the chaos and carnage that we saw”.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Mr Biden would “forcibly push back on the lie spread by the former president in an attempt to mislead the American people and his own supporters, as well as distract from his role in what happened.
“The president is going to speak to the truth of what happened, not the lies that some have spread since, and the peril it posed to the rule of law and our system of democratic governance,” she said.
“I’d also note that President Biden has been clear-eyed about the threat the former president represents to our democracy and how the former president constantly works to undermine basic American values and rule of law”, she said.
Mr Trump had urged his supporters to attend a rally in Washington DC on January 6th last year and to march to the Capitol, where members of Congress were meeting to certify Mr Biden’s victory in the presidential election in November 2020.
A large group of Trump supporters fought with police and broke into the Capitol building, leading politicians to flee to safety and delaying the formal certification process for several hours.
Mr Trump’s allies have maintained that he urged his supporters to “peacefully” demonstrate. His critics contend that he urged them to fight amid unsubstantiated claims that the presidential election had been rigged and stolen.
On Wednesday, US attorney general Merrick Garland Garland said so far more than 725 people had been charged with crimes arising from the rioting. He said five police officers who were on duty on January 6th last year at the Capitol had died in the intervening period.
One Trump supporter was shot dead during the attack on the Capitol.
Mr Garland said the Justice Department in the United States remained committed to holding all the perpetrators of the January 6th attack on the US Capitol “at any level”, accountable under law.
He said his department would pursue those responsible “whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy. We will follow the facts wherever they lead.”