Biden's presidency shadowed by the January 6 riot and Donald Trump a year later
Two weeks before becoming president, Joe Biden watched the January 6 attack on television from his home in Delaware, horrified as the unspeakable images of the insurrection unfolded and aghast at the sitting President's unwillingness to condemn it. © Jon Cherry/Getty Images WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: A large group of pro-Trump protesters stand on the East steps of the Capitol Building after storming its grounds on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. A pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, breaking windows and clashing with police officers.
© Greg Nash President Joe Biden is seen before giving remarks in Statuary Hall of the U.S Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, January 6, 2022 to mark the year anniversary of the attack on the Capitol.
Every time a president speaks, he makes history. But, sometimes, more than others. Some statements by a president flash out like fireworks over the Mall. Some will live forever.
Even a casual student of history remembers presidential quotes etched in our collective memories. President Franklin Roosevelt: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." President Harry Truman: "It's amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." President John F. Kennedy: "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." And, of course, Richard Nixon's less admirable, but no less forgettable: "I am not a crook."
Democrats hail Biden for calling out Trump
Democrats have been waiting for a year for President Biden to call out former President Trump for his claims about the 2020 presidential election and pinpoint the role Trump played in instigating his followers to "fight like hell" to contest the result. Standing in the Capitol on Thursday, Biden finally did just that.A widespread sentiment among Democrats has been that Biden hasn't been hard enough on Trump as the former president relentlessly accuses Democrats of rigging the election and making repeated claims about widespread voter fraud in which a variety of legal maneuvers and state certifications have failed to prove.
Now Joe Biden has joined the chorus of immortals. His speech at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 will go down in the history books for several reasons. First, for where he gave it. In Statutory Hall where, exactly one year earlier, an armed mob of Donald Trump supporters had stormed the Capitol, desecrated the sacred chamber, destroyed property, and assaulted Capitol police officers. Biden's presence at that location sent a powerful message: The insurrection failed. Democracy survived.
Biden also made history because of what he said. Yes, Trump became the first president to reject the very essence of democracy: the power of the American people to decide their own leaders, followed by the peaceful transfer of power. He refused to concede the election, refused to attend his successor's inauguration, and, even today, 14 months later, continues to promote the "Big Lie" that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
Biden to amp up the pressure on the Senate to change filibuster rules for voting rights during Atlanta speech
President Joe Biden is traveling to Atlanta on Tuesday to deliver a major speech on voting rights, looking to turn up the heat on reluctant senators as Democrats face pressure to pass two pieces of pending legislation opposed by nearly all Republicans on Capitol Hill. © DREW ANGERER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images US President Joe Biden speaks at the US Capitol on January 6, 2022, to mark the anniversary of the attack on the Capitol in Washington, DC. - Thousands of supporters of then-president Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, in a bid to prevent the certification of Biden's election victory.
So after a year of holding his fire, hoping Trump's plaintive whining would just go away, Biden decided to go nuclear. He became the first president to openly attack his predecessor, repeatedly accusing Trump, without mentioning him by name - he didn't have to! - of lying to the American people and "holding a dagger to the throat of democracy." And, in the cruelest blow of all, Biden hit Trump where it hurt the most, reminding Trump and the American people of his deflated status: "He's not just a former president. He's a defeated former president." Ouch!
But one line in Biden's 20-minute Jan. 6 address stood out among all others and earned him a place in the history books. Forcefully rejecting the insane argument put forward by Trump and his slavish supporters that those who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, are actually "patriots" who love their country, Biden spoke nine immortal words: "You can't love your country only when you win."
Georgia’s voting rights advocates ask Biden: Where have you been?
The president made a forceful case to revamp the Senate rules and pass election laws. But his base has grown skeptical.After working 70 hours a week, leading bus tours across the state and rallying voters to the polls last year, Brown, who co-founded Black Voters Matter, said she was fed up with the Democrats she helped elect. As Biden called on the Senate to get rid of the filibuster in order to pass voting rights and elections legislation in Atlanta on Tuesday, she stayed away.
Nobody ever uttered a more succinct summation of what democracy is all about. Democracy is fair. Everyone's vote counts and everybody plays by the rules. And one of the cardinal rules is: In any election, no matter how important it is to you, whoever gets the most votes wins. Period. The winning side assumes power. The losing side accepts defeat and regroups to fight harder and better the next time. That's America.
The other rule is that democracy survives based on fidelity to the law. And under the law you don't trespass on federal buildings, attack police officers, destroy public property, or threaten the lives of elected officials - no matter how angry you are that your guy didn't win. That's America.
Republican or Democrat, can't we all agree on this point? Those who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 were not just tourists. They weren't patriots, either. They were criminals, and should be charged accordingly. "You can't love your country only when you win."
Press is host of "The Bill Press Pod." He is author of "From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire."
Ukraine, midterms and Build Back Better: White House plays cleanup after Biden's marathon press conference .
Biden took questions for nearly two hours Wednesday. Remarks about Ukraine and election integrity prompted the White House to clarify his comments.For 1 hour and 51 minutes, Biden stood at a lectern in the White House East room, fielding more than 180 questions from 24 reporters. Almost no issue went untouched.