Trump rips Democrats, media over Jan. 6 anniversary

Former President Trump on Friday delivered a forceful rebuke of Democrats and the media a day after the anniversary of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, accusing his critics of using the assault as a political wedge, while downplaying the significance of the most violent day at the Capitol in centuries.

In a lengthy statement issued through his leadership PAC, Trump sought to tap into the grievances of his conservative base of voters, casting Democrats and the “media establishment” as nothing less than a sinister force that had “driven our country into the ground.”

“These radical leftists in Washington care NOTHING for American Democracy,” Trump said. “All they care about is control over you, and wealth and riches for themselves.”

“But they are failing. No one believes them anymore,” he added. “And the day is quickly coming when they will be overwhelmingly voted out of power.”

The remarks came a day after lawmakers, led by Democrats, gathered in Washington to commemorate the anniversary of Jan. 6, 2020, when a mob of Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol as Congress met to certify President Biden’s Electoral College victory.

Five people, including one Capitol Police officer, died in the riot. The assault also prompted the House to impeach Trump for his role in inciting the attack.

Prior to the chaos at the Capitol, Trump urged his supporters to “fight like hell” has he disputed the results of the election. 

Ten Republicans backed the Trump impeachment in the House and seven voted to convict the president in the Senate trial. But the Senate fell well short of the 67 votes needed for a conviction.

Since then, Trump's grip on his own party has grown tighter, and he is flirting with a run for reelection in 2024.

Republicans also have high hopes of winning back the House and Senate majorities in this year's midterm elections. Trump and Jan. 6 are likely to be issues both in GOP primaries and in the general elections this fall.

Trump's remarks on Friday also came after he scrapped a scheduled Thursday news conference in which he was expected to repeat his false claims about the 2020 election and criticize the work of the House select committee charged with investigating the Jan. 6 riot. 

The former president’s remarks made no mention of the violence committed by the rioters. Instead, he blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for the chaos that day, dubbing the events of Jan. 6 “a Pelosi-led security failure at the Capitol.”

Trump also accused Democrats of using the Jan. 6 riot as a pretext for clamping down on free speech and censoring detractors. He also hammered Democratic efforts to pass sweeping election reforms, accusing them of pursuing such measures in order to shore up their governing majorities. 

“The reason the Democrats are doing all of this is not because they believe they will win a fair and honest election,” Trump said. “It’s because they know they will overwhelmingly LOSE one.”

Democrats have cast the election reform efforts as necessary to combat restrictive new voting laws that Republican legislatures in several states have adopted in the wake of the 2020 election and Trump’s baseless claim that he was robbed of a second term in the White House by widespread voter fraud.

Well over a year after his loss to Biden, Trump has clung to the false notion that the 2020 election was rigged against him. There is no evidence that the 2020 election was marred by widespread voter fraud or malfeasance. Multiple state-level audits and reviews of the election have failed to find any proof of Trump’s claims. 

Still, Trump’s assertion that the election was stolen from him has caught on among many Republicans. A poll released by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst late last month found that nearly three-quarters of Republicans doubt the legitimacy of Biden’s electoral victory.

Polls also suggest a deep divide in the United States over what happened on Jan. 6 and how to interpret the violent incident.

In his Friday remarks, Trump pushed back on criticism that he had sought to weaken American democracy by rejecting the results of an election. 

“Remember, I am not the one trying to undermine American Democracy,” he said. “I am the one trying to SAVE American Democracy.”

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