Biden pleads with unprecedented seriousness for democracy, Trump responds with fury
“I will not let anyone put a knife to the throat of American democracy”: Joe Biden delivered a speech of unprecedented gravity on Thursday, and charged his predecessor Donald Trump with his responsibility for the assault on the Capitol a year ago year.
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He accused him of having « attempted to prevent a peaceful transfer of power » during this « armed insurrection », which aimed to prevent the certification of the election by the American Congress.
The former Republican president replied with three furious press releases, showing that this anniversary, far from reconciling Americans, exacerbates political antagonisms.
Joe Biden « used my name to try to further divide America, » said Donald Trump. “This political theater only distracts from the fact that Biden has completely and utterly failed. »
« Loser »
In reality, the Democratic president did not once name Donald Trump, whom he only referred to as « the former president » or « the losing former president », well aware that this formulation would enrage the billionaire. .
- Listen to the column of Luc Laliberté, specialist in American politics at the microphone of Richard Martineau on QUB radio:
Joe Biden had abandoned his customary bonhomie for an extremely solemn, and sometimes somber tone, in the imposing « hall of statues » of the Capitol, the very place where, on January 6, 2021, supporters of the former president paraded.
The 79-year-old Democrat delivered a full charge against his predecessor, who « created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election, he did it because he prefers power over principle, » and because “his wounded ego matters more to him than our democracy”.
The former president, for his part, maintained on Thursday that the last election was « rigged », which he never proved.
» Never give up »
« Never forget the crime of the 2020 presidential election. Never give up, » urged Donald Trump.
“Are we going to be a nation that accepts that political violence becomes the norm? “, For his part, questioned Joe Biden, believing that the United States was engaged, within its borders as well as outside, in a “struggle” opposing democracy to autocracy.
“I did not seek this battle”, assured Joe Biden, while according to a recent poll, only 55% of Americans believe that his election is legitimate.
But « I will not let anyone put the knife to the throat of American democracy », he said.
To journalists who asked him if he was not afraid of further aggravating the divisions with this speech, the president launched: “When you want to heal, you have to recognize the seriousness of the wound. »
- Listen to the correspondent for TVA Nouvelles in Washington, Richard Latendresse, with Benoit Dutrizac on QUB Radio:
In tone at least, it’s a break for Joe Biden. Since the start of his term, he has treated Donald Trump and his supporters with ignorance and even contempt, betting on pragmatism and an ambitious program of economic reforms to reconcile Americans.
But now, his presidency seems mired: reforms are for some blocked, the return of the COVID-19 pandemic and high inflation demoralize Americans, and the president, whose confidence rating is very low, is struggling to exploit a too thin a parliamentary majority, due to a lack of cohesion in the Democratic ranks.
As for the reconciliation he was calling for, it seems a long way off.
In the opposing camp, the absence on Thursday of all or almost all of the elected Republicans at the commemorations organized by Congress, with a Democratic majority, testifies to the immense ascendancy of Donald Trump over the party.
No senator thus participated in a moment of silence organized in the Senate. In the other chamber of Congress, that of representatives, only two leading conservatives, former vice-president Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz Cheney, in open rupture with Donald Trump, showed up.
No Republican tenor either at the vigil on the steps of the Capitol, which concluded this day of commemorations.
It is therefore from a distance that several tenors of the party have taken up the same criticism in chorus: that of an “instrumentalization” of the event by the White House.
The leader of the party in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, had spoken in February 2021 of a “moral responsibility” of the former president in the events of January 6.
But he released a statement on Thursday accusing Democrats of « exploiting » the anniversary « to promote political goals. »
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis told him Thursday that the commemorations planned by Congress were « nauseous. »
- Listen to the Vincent Dessureault column on QUB radio