President Joe Biden will address the historical significance of the 6 January insurrection by discussing the reality of what happened during the worst attack on the Capitol since the 1814 Burning of Washington, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
Mr Biden is scheduled to speak from the Capitol’s Statuary Hall on Thursday morning to mark the one-year anniversary of the day a riotous mob armed with chemical spray, stun guns, and other improvised weapons stormed the building in hopes of preventing Congress from certifying his 2020 election victory over former president Donald Trump.
According to the Fraternal Order of Police, at least 140 US Capitol Police and DC Metropolitan Police officers suffered injuries at the hands of the pro-Trump mob that day.
Three rioters and one Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, died in the immediate aftermath of the attack while several other officers have taken their own lives in the year since.
But Mr Trump, who reportedly watched the violence on television from his West Wing private dining room that day, and many of his allies in the media have consistently downplayed the violence that day.
Asked about the content of Mr Biden’s planned remarks, Ms Psaki said Mr Biden “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”.
“He will also … commemorate the heroes of January 6, especially the brave men and women of law enforcement who fought to uphold the Constitution and protect the Capitol and the lives of the people who were there. Because of their efforts, our democracy withstood an attack from a mob and the will of the more than 150 million people who voted in the presidential election was ultimately registered by Congress,” she said.
“He will also speak to the work we still need to do to secure and strengthen our democracy and our institutions to reject the hatred and lies we saw on January 6, and to unite our country.”
A short time later, Ms Psaki was asked if Mr Biden feels there is anything further he can do to change minds of Trump supporters who believe the lies spread by the former president about his successor’s legitimacy.
She replied: “I think what he’s going to continue to do is speak to everyone in the country – those who didn’t vote for him, those who may not believe he is the legitimate president –about what he wants to do to make their lives better. And he sees that as his responsibility as the President of the United States. That’s what he will continue to do”.