5 takeaways from President Biden’s drastic removal of Trump on January 6

About a month after the Jan. 6 Capitol uprising, and with the indictment suddenly in the rearview mirror, President Joe Biden indicated he was “tired” of talking about Donald Trump. A month later, he answered a question about Trump by sarcastically saying that “my predecessor” was missed. Biden largely avoided mentioning Trump in the following months.

On the anniversary of the Jan.6 riot on Capitol Hill Thursday, Biden made a huge exception. He delivered a muscular speech aimed at repudiating the former president whose grip on the Republican Party has proved stronger than ever, as well as the allies who instigated and excused the riot on Capitol Hill.

[‘Dagger at the throat of democracy’: Biden harshly criticizes Trump and his violent supporters on anniversary of Jan. 6 insurrection]

Below are some takeaways from Biden’s speech.

1. Trump’s accent

Biden’s intention to deliver his speech not just on the rioters, but on Trump, was evident from the first minute of his brief speech and continued throughout. After praising those who resisted the attack and marked the grim occasion, Biden almost immediately linked the attack to Trump – and has done so on several occasions, with palpable anger in his voice.

“For the first time in our history, the president didn’t just lose an election; he tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power as a violent crowd entered the Capitol, ”Biden said. “But they failed. They missed. “

Biden later added: “He did what no president in American history – the history of this country – has ever done: He refused to accept the results of an election and the will of the American people. “

Then Biden went after Trump’s late response.

“What haven’t we seen?” Biden said. “We didn’t see a former president who had just rallied the crowd to attack, sitting in the private dining room of the White House Oval Office, watching it all on TV and doing nothing for hours as the police were attacked, lives in danger, the national capital under siege.

2. Not just to target, but to goad Trump

Much of Biden’s speech seemed to be aimed not only at criticizing, but goading Trump.

He referred to Trump’s “bruised ego” for losing the 2020 election.

“He did it because he values ​​power over principle, because he considers his own best interests to be more important than the best interests of his country and the best interests of America, and because his bruised ego means more to him than our democracy or our Constitution, ”Biden said.

Biden also referred to the 81 million people who voted for him – an apparent reference to the regular invocations of Trump and his allies of the 74 million people who voted for Trump, and the idea of ​​not examining the allegations further. Trump’s baseless election fraud amounted to ignoring those voters.

Biden also pointed out those who might otherwise be allies who clearly did not support Trump’s claims.

“He cannot accept having lost, even if that is what 93 American senators, his own attorney general [William Barr], his own vice president, governors and state officials in every state on the battlefield – all said he had lost, ”Biden said. “That’s what 81 million of you did, voting for a new way forward.”

Biden punctuated everything towards the end of his speech by calling Trump what Trump perhaps fears most: a loser.

“He was just looking for an excuse, a pretext to hide the truth: that he’s not just a former president; he’s a defeated former president, “Biden said, stressing” defeated “and then repeating it -” defeated by a margin of over 7 million of your votes in a full, free and fair election. “

3. Recognition that being passive doesn’t work

It might have been a special occasion, but it also seemed to mark the recognition that Trump is not going anywhere, and it can’t be argued otherwise.

At the same time, it echoed Trump’s previous reprimands, in that Biden, for some reason, avoided saying his name. George W. Bush did this in a late 2017 speech against Trump, and on Thursday a word was oddly missing in Biden’s remarks: “Trump.”

Throughout the speech, Biden contented himself with quoting “the former president” – at least 16 times in just over 10 minutes – as if saying his name was tantamount to legitimizing him, or something would happen at the same time. way of saying “Voldemort”.

In Bush’s case and in the case of other Republicans critical of Trump over the past five years, it made sense – at least politically. Maybe people would think these are general points rather than targeted at a specific person? Maybe that would reduce the heat of his fellow supporters? Perhaps this would be understood as a call for better angels rather than a personal political attack?

Biden’s speech, however, was clearly aimed at one person in particular. And if you say “whatever I want to say,” why not say everything you want to say and make it even more explicit?

4. The undersold reprimand

Towards the end, Biden referred to something that didn’t get enough attention: the GOP’s implicit idea that the presidential election was somehow stolen, but not the other races.

We also shed light on this. Days before January 6, that comparison was pushed by none other than Republican Representative Chip Roy (Tex.), Who had been the former chief of staff to Republican Senator Ted Cruz. If the election results were suspect, Roy explained, why wouldn’t his fellow Republicans object to the placement of elected members on the same ballots? So Roy forced a vote, and all but two Republicans voted to seat the members.

Here’s Biden:

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“Think about this: the former president and his supporters have never been able to explain how they accept as accurate the other results of the elections that took place on November 3 – the elections for Governor, the States Senate – United, the House of Representatives – the elections in which they have closed the gap in the House. They did not dispute any of this. … Somehow these results were correct on the same ballot, but the presidential race was flawed. On the same ballot, the same day, tabled on the same day by the same voters? The only difference: the former president did not lose these races; he has just lost the one that was his.

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Most ballot races in states Trump contested weren’t as close as the presidential race. But Trump was alleging electoral fraud on a historic and massive scale. In light of this, it’s an extremely valid proposition to ask why these results were not treated as suspect by those who claim that Trump may not have lost.

Cruz’s former chief of staff laid the groundwork to make this point over a year ago. And Biden rightly raised it on Thursday. It is certainly a selective crusade against electoral fraud.

5. What happens now

The question following Biden’s speech is what this actually means. Was it just reminding people of an attack on democracy – just one day – or was it about inciting further action?

Democrats have been pushing to revamp the country’s election laws, citing Republicans’ efforts to rewrite them in states, but it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. They also avoided suggestions from GOP leaders that the two sides could meet in the middle, looking at the voter tally law that Trump sought to exploit on Jan.6. Democrats suggested this was a totally insufficient step.

Another political explanation is that Biden understands his agenda is probably going nowhere. This argument suggests that voters need to be reminded of what happened in 2020 ahead of the 2022 election – when Democratic majorities are under serious threat – and perhaps before a possible 2024 revenge with Trump (or another Democrat stands by). presenting against Trump). When the calendar turns to an election year, after all, the legislation tends to stop and those concerns take precedence. Biden’s sting against Trump certainly does not rule out this theory.

Either way, it’s an important entry into the long-standing struggle for democracy. And it was the most significant entry on this front from President Biden to date.