The division between Republicans and Democrats over the assault on the Capitol sharpened Thursday on the first anniversary of the attack. Shortly after the president of the United States, Joe Biden, in a powerful speech accused Donald Trump of trying to “rewrite history” of his electoral defeat, the Republican responded with a statement: “Actually, the big lie was the election per se”. And he repeated, once again, the baseless accusation of fraud. Heavy weights of the Republican Party that a year ago, shocked by the tragedy, distanced themselves from the former president, this Thursday closed ranks and directed their ships against the Democratic president.
Senator Lindsey Graham accused the president of carrying out a “blatant politicization of January 6,” when a mob of Trump supporters stormed Congress during the confirmation session of Biden’s electoral victory. “Speeches by President Biden and Vice President [Kamala] Harris have been an effort to resurrect a failed presidency rather than to mark the anniversary of a dark day in the history of the United States, “said Graham, an example of a Republican leader who distanced himself from Trump a year ago, but who this Thursday launched darts in another direction. “Trump and I have had an incredible journey. I hate that it ends this way. My God, I hate him, “he said after the attack on the Capitol. “I can only say that they don’t count on me. Enough is enough ”, he declared after the protesters burst into Congress.
In the run-up to the violent day, a dozen Republican senators led by Texan Ted Cruz joined some congressmen from the same party to challenge Biden’s multi-state results. On Wednesday, in a session with police officers who worked that day, Cruz thanked them for their services and called the insurrection “a violent terrorist attack on the Capitol.” Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz, another of those who defended the electoral fraud theory, said in an interview Thursday that he was “not ashamed of anything.” “We are proud of the work we did on January 6 to present legitimate arguments about the integrity of the elections,” he stressed.
The upper house suspended voting on Thursday and dedicated the day to the commemoration of January 6 with speeches from senators, but not only were Republican voices missing from the podium, but there were many absences in general. Former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell traveled with more than 30 fellow party members to Atlanta to attend the funeral of Republican Senator Johnny Isakson, who died in December. In the second impeachment trial against Trump, accused after the assault of “incitement to insurrection,” McConnell voted he was “not guilty.”
This Thursday, from Georgia, he issued a statement in which he described January 6, 2021 as “a dark day” for the country, in which “criminals” attacked the police and used force to try to prevent Congress from do your job. Like Cruz, he limited the tragedy to a security problem, avoiding pointing out the political breeding ground that led to the attack after days of accusations of fraud.
Hours of silence
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The Republican dilemma regarding the figure of Trump is marked by the legislative elections in November. The former president continues to dominate the bases and several candidates who aspire to win or retain their seats in Congress have decided to turn a blind eye to the role of the former president during the insurrection or, at best, keep uncomfortable distances. Few have dared to condemn his inflammatory speech before the assault and the silence he kept for hours as a mob of 800 stormed the Capitol. Biden also criticized them: “While some brave men and women in the Republican Party oppose him [Trump]Trying to defend the principles of that party, many others are transforming it into something else ”.
The assault caused five deaths and 140 police officers injured. A year after the invasion of Congress, less than half of Republican voters remember the attack as violent or extremely violent, according to a poll released this week by The Associated Press-Norc Center for Public Affairs. While the seriousness of the events on the right fades into memory, the perception of the electoral results has remained stable. 93% of Democrats believe that Biden won legitimately, while 71% of Republicans continue to believe that Trump won. The ex-president planned to appear before the media this Thursday, but in the end he canceled the appointment.
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