Biden, Harris call on Americans to save fragile democracy in Jan. 6 address

In remarks delivered before Biden spoke, Vice President Kamala Harris also cast a spotlight on Trump supporters' efforts to subvert democracy, calling on Congress to pass voting rights legislation and on Americans to participate. "We cannot let our future be decided by those bent on silencing our voices, overturning our votes and peddling lies and misinformation by some radical faction that may be newly resurgent but whose roots run old," Harris said.


Reuters | Updated: 06-01-2022 23:21 IST | Created: 06-01-2022 23:21 IST
Biden, Harris call on Americans to save fragile democracy in Jan. 6 address

President Joe Biden used the first anniversary of the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol on Thursday to urge Americans to protect the country's fragile democracy by standing up for the right to vote. Biden, in remarks from the Capitol's National Statuary Hall, lambasted former President Donald Trump https://www.reuters.com/world/us/biden-call-trump-threat-democracy-us-capitol-attack-anniversary-2022-01-06 for spreading mistruths that fueled the deadly attack by the Republican's supporters two weeks before Biden's inauguration in 2021.

Speaking 10 months before the November midterm elections that could give control of one or both houses of Congress to Republicans, Biden, a Democrat, warned that the danger on display a year ago had not gone away. "The lies that drove the anger and madness we saw in this place, they have not faded. So we have to be firm, resolute and unyielding in our defense of the right to vote and have that vote counted," Biden said from the U.S. Capitol, where a mob of Trump's supporters attempted to overturn the 2020 election results a year ago.

"So now let's step up, write the next chapter of American history, where January 6 marks not the end of democracy but the beginning of a renaissance, of liberty and fair play," Biden said. In remarks delivered before Biden spoke, Vice President Kamala Harris also cast a spotlight on Trump supporters' efforts to subvert democracy, calling on Congress to pass voting rights legislation and on Americans to participate.

"We cannot let our future be decided by those bent on silencing our voices, overturning our votes and peddling lies and misinformation by some radical faction that may be newly resurgent but whose roots run old," Harris said. "The fragility of democracy is this: that if we are not vigilant, if we do not defend it, democracy simply will not stand; it will falter and fail." Democrats say federal election reform is necessary to counter a wave of voting restrictions adopted last year by Republican-led states. The laws were inspired by Trump's false claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, which he lost to Biden by a substantial margin.

Americans vote in lower numbers than in many other developed nations, historical data shows, with eligible turnout during presidential elections hovering near 60% https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-ELECTIONS/oakvendenpr for much of the past century. Numbers spiked in the 2020 election to nearly 67%. Democrats hope that greater voter turnout will favor them, especially as demographic shifts shrink the white majority in the country of roughly 330 million people.

Democrats' efforts to pass voting rights legislation in Congress appeared in jeopardy https://www.reuters.com/world/us/senators-meeting-with-manchin-voting-rights-bills-schumer-2022-01-04 this week, as centrist Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said he had little interest in a strategy that would allow the party to bypass Republican opposition. Biden and his advisers had shied away from talking directly about Trump during the Democrat's first year in office, but Thursday marked a turnaround. Biden attacked the "defeated" former president's "bruised ego" and his followers' refusal to accept reality. "You can't love your country only when you win; you can't obey the law only when it’s convenient; you can't be patriotic when you embrace and enable lies. Those who stormed this Capitol, those who instigated and incited and those who called on them to do so, held a dagger at the throat of America and American democracy," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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