What They’re Saying About the Anniversary of the Jan. 6 Attack on the Capitol
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris both spoke at the U.S. Capitol Thursday morning in observance of the first anniversary of the attack on the building by insurrectionists loyal to former President Donald Trump.
Many more speeches will be made throughout the day, and even more statements will be released by House and Senate members and other elected officials through their offices and social media accounts.
The Well News offers a sampling of those comments below. They will be updated throughout the day.
Former President Donald Trump
“Biden, who is destroying our nation with insane policies of open borders, corrupt elections, disastrous energy policies, unconstitutional mandates, and devastating school closures, used my name today to try to further divide America. This political theater is all just a distraction for the fact Biden has completely and totally failed.
“Our country no longer has borders, has totally and completely lost control of COVID (record numbers!), is no longer energy independent, inflation is rampant, our military is in chaos, and our exit, or surrender, from Afghanistan was perhaps the most embarrassing day in the long and distinguished history of the United States—and so much more. Why is it that the unselect committee of totally partisan political hacks, whose judgment has long ago been made, not discussing the rigged presidential election of 2020?
“It’s because they don’t have the answers or justifications for what happened. They got away with something, and it is leading to our country’s destruction. They want all conversations concerning the election “Canceled.” Just look at the numbers, they speak for themselves. They are not justifiable, so the complicit media just calls it the big lie, when in actuality the big lie was the election itself.
“The Democrats want to own this day of Jan. 6 so they can stoke fears and divide America. I say, let them have it because America sees through their lies and polarizations.”
Former Vice President Dick Cheney
“The importance of January 6th as an historic event cannot be overstated. I was honored & proud to join my daughter on the House floor to recognize this anniversary, to commend the heroic actions of law enforcement that day, & to reaffirm our dedication to the Constitution.
“I am deeply disappointed at the failure of many members of my party to recognize the grave nature of the January 6 attacks and the ongoing threat to our nation.”
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, R- S.C.
“I still cannot believe that a mob was able to take over the United States Capitol during such a pivotal moment — certifying a presidential election. It would have been so easy for terrorists to boot strap onto this protest and wreak even further destruction on the U.S. Capitol. Regardless of the reason for the assault on the Capitol, to lose control in such a fashion twenty years after 9/11 is stunning.
“Those who defiled the Capitol on Jan. 6 are being prosecuted, as they should be. I have consistently condemned the attack and have urged that those involved be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I hold the same views of those who attacked the federal courthouse in Portland, Orego, and committed other acts of violence throughout our nation.
“Those responsible for Capitol security, including our political leaders, must also be held accountable. We still do not know who planted the pipe bombs on Capitol Hill the night of Jan. 5. We still do not know why our Capitol was not adequately defended before President Trump spoke.
“We owe a great debt of gratitude and appreciation to the Capitol Police officers who bravely risked their lives to protect the Capitol. They were placed in a terrible position, without adequate reinforcements, but did their best to protect an overwhelmed Capitol.
“Finally, President Biden and Vice President Harris’s speeches today were an effort to resurrect a failed presidency more than marking the anniversary of a dark day in American history. Their brazen attempts to use Jan. 6 to support radical election reform and changing the rules of the Senate to accomplish this goal, will not succeed. The so-called voting rights acts they are pushing are a liberal Democrat federal takeover of our election systems which constitutionally reside with the states.
“The Biden presidency, one year after Jan. 6, is in free fall not because of the attack on our Capitol, but because of failed policies and weak leadership. The Biden administration seems to be incapable of dealing with the challenges America faces, and their efforts to politicize Jan. 6 will fall flat.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
“Today, one year ago, the Capitol and those who work within it were targeted in a violent insurrection that sought to undermine democracy. As we acknowledge the horror of that day, we honor the heroism of so many, particularly U.S. Capitol Police, institutional staff, Floor, Leadership, Committee and Member staff.
“We had a session this morning where we could say thank you to many of them. Unfortunately, COVID did not enable us to have the full House. We will have another time when the attending physician allows.
“But, as we acknowledge the horror of that day, in the face of extreme danger, they all risked their safety for our democracy by protecting the Capitol complex, members, staff, press, et cetera, the press within, safeguarding the ballots in those mahogany boxes to validate the election and ensuring that Congress could accomplish our purpose and honor our duty to the Constitution and to our country.
“That day and the days after, they were the defenders of our democracy, and their courage and patriotism remain an inspiration. Because of them, Congress was able to defeat the insurrection, to return to the Capitol that same night, to ensure that the peaceful transfer of power took place. Because of them and our members, the insurrection failed.
“One year later, this sacred space where members legislate, children learn, visitors are welcomed, was defiled and damaged – we know that. As we reflect on that darkest day, we remember that the insurrectionists sought not only to attack the building, but to undermine democracy itself. When the violent assault was made on the Capitol, its purpose was to thwart Congress’s Constitutional duty to validate the electoral count and to ensure the peaceful transfer of power. But the assault did not deter us from our duty, I say again, and this Capitol, a symbol of democracy to the world, that evening, the Congress, because of the courage of all of you, rose to honor our oath and protect our democracy.
“We did so, honoring the words of President Lincoln during the Civil War. ‘Fellow citizens,’ he said, ‘We cannot escape history. We will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal insignificance or significance can spare us one or another. We hold the power, therefore we bear the responsibility,’ Lincoln said.
“Today, we accept responsibility as daunting and demanding as any the previous generations of leadership have faced. Since the Jan. 6 insurrection, there have been continued assaults on our democracy, undermining the sanctity of the vote and the integrity of our elections, which are the basis of our democracy.
“Let us be true to the vision of our Founders who brilliantly established our democracy and made it a model for the world. Let us honor the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform who protect that freedom with their lives.
“And, let us remember the word of another president, our patriarch, President George Washington. When he delivered the Constitution to the Congress, he said this. He said, ‘This Constitution represents the creation of a government which would allow for the continuation of rigorous debate but relies upon the common sense and good faith of the American people to find the better angels of our nature.’
“As we proceed, let us find our common ground, reach our nation’s heights with liberty and justice for all, remembering the words of our great patriarch and in the spirit that our Chaplain referenced of President Lincoln, ‘with malice toward none’ and ‘with charity toward all.’
“Let us acknowledge today – as I conclude, I want to acknowledge our fallen heroes of that day, U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, U.S. Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood, Metropolitan Officer Jeffrey Smith, U.S. Capitol Police Officer Billy Evans, of a later assault.
“Now, I ask all members to rise for a moment of silence in their memory.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
“It is difficult to put into words what it is like to stand here on the floor of the United States Senate, on this day of all days.
“For 163 years, this space has been the home of the upper chamber of the American Congress. What has taken place inside this room over the centuries has determined, in very real ways, the trajectory of our nation. In this room we carry on the mission handed down to us by the framers, to assure the voice of the people is heard and represented and acted upon.
“But one year ago today—on Jan. 6, 2021—mob violence descended upon this chamber and upon this Capitol.
“Thousands of rioters, possessed by equal measures of rage, conspiracy, and spurred into action by the sitting president of the United States, attacked the United States Capitol in an armed, violent, and deadly effort to halt the peaceful transfer of power. Its windows were smashed, its offices were vandalized, and lawmakers and our staffs—everyday citizens who love their country and work here every day—feared for their lives. Nearly 140 police officers were injured, and at least five people lost their lives that day or in its aftermath.
“The warnings of history are clear: when democracies are in danger, it often starts with a mob. That’s what happened one year ago, here in this building: a mob attack.
“And for mob violence to win the day it doesn’t need everyone to join in, it just needs a critical mass of people to stay out of the way, to ignore it, to underestimate it, to excuse it, and even condone it.
“The mob can start out as a small number, but if it’s allowed to grow, and leaders egg on the mob, encourage it, it can become poison. That is what Donald Trump is doing, as even his response to President Biden’s speech today showed.
“And once that happens, the unthinkable could become real. Democracy erodes and could— God forbid, God forbid, horror of horrors—vanish.
“The poisonous mob mentality lives on today, in the threats against election workers, poll workers, even other public servants like school board members and health workers. This is what erodes a democracy, and Donald Trump today continues to spread his poisonous bile about the big lie.
“To borrow from President Franklin Roosevelt, the violent insurrection of Jan. 6 was a day that will forever live in infamy, a permanent stain in the story of American democracy, and the final, bitter, unforgivable act of the worst president in modern times.
“Today, on this first anniversary, members from both the House and Senate, and our staffs, and the president and vice president are here today at the Capitol, and one of our purposes is to share memories in commemoration of that day.
“At noon, we will hold a moment of silence in honor of those who were lost because of the attack.
“And to all my colleagues and to staff who struggle to get through today, you are not alone— you are not alone. We are here by your side. The Employee Assistance Program has resources available to all Senate staff who are processing what happened a year ago.
“Let me share my personal experience on that day. As I’ve recounted many times since then, my personal experience that day was in some ways like the opening sentence of Charles Dickens’s “A Tale of Two Cities”: the best of times, the worst of times.
“First came the best of times. Several hours before the attack, at 4 a.m. in the morning, I learned that our two Democratic Senators had won in the Georgia runoff and we would gain the majority. At 4 a.m. it became clear. I tried to get some sleep, but I couldn’t. I got down in my car, drove to Washington and got to the floor of this chamber at 1 p.m. for the first time, as the putative majority leader.
“Within 45 minutes of sitting there, watching the beginning of the counting of ballots, a police officer in a big flak jacket and a large rifle grabbed me firmly by the collar like this. I’ll never forget that grip. And said to me, ‘Senator, we’ve got to get out of here, you’re in danger.’
“We walked out the Senate chamber door, made a right turn, went through another door. This happened to be captured on the video, the videotape above, and it was shown at the impeachment trial, although, I didn’t even know they had the tape until I saw it at the impeachment trial. But we go through the door, you don’t see us for 20 seconds, and then we are running out of the door at full speed.
“I was within 30 feet of these nasty, racist, bigoted insurrectionists. Had someone had a gun, had two of them blocked off the door, who knows what would have happened. I was told later that one of them reportedly said, ‘There’s the big Jew. Let’s get him.’ Bigotry against one is bigotry against all.
“And I saw something that I had been told later never happened before, the Confederate flag flying in this dear Capitol. That’s just one of many searing, grotesque images of that unimaginable, most un-American day.
“There were good moments, too. I remember when the leaders, Sen. McConnell, myself, Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, were sent off to the secret place. We convened, after desperately trying to get the president on the phone to ask him to call the rioters off.
“We spoke to the secretary of defense and the acting attorney general, but to no avail. But then the four of us got together and said, we’re going to come back. We’re going to count those votes. We’re not going to let the violent insurrectionists stop us. And count the votes we did. Until, I believe it was, 3:00 a.m. the next morning. That was a good moment amidst a lot of bad moments.
“So now we ask, one year later, how shall our country move forward?
“What are we to say and think and do in response to a day when a sitting American president, rather than step down from office, unleashed his own supporters to attack the government through mob violence? How can we help those scarred by that day find solace, find healing?
“How can we make clear to the American people, to the world, and even to ourselves that our democracy is still whole?
“First, we must begin by commemorating our emergency responders who have died, whether through complications from injuries or, sadly, through suicide, in the days and months after the violence.
“Brian Sicknick of New Jersey.
“Howie Liebengood of Virginia.
“Billy Evans of Massachusetts.
“Jeffery Smith of Illinois.
“And Gunther Hashida of Virginia.
“Today and every day we remember them, we mourn their loss, we honor their limitless heroism in the face of the unthinkable.
“Second, we also thank every single member of the Capitol Police, the DC Metro Police, and the National Guard who kept us safe and prevented a violent riot from turning into something much worse. That afternoon, our Capitol Police were outnumbered, unprepared, and largely left on their own. Just watching on television the brutal beating of one of them by the mob, another being crushed between a door and a wall, it just rips your heart apart and you relive that day and you remember how the Capitol Police suffered but persisted and helped preserve our democracy. When they held the line our democracy survived. So, not only do we thank them, but we commit to continue supporting them and fighting for them as they fought to defend this building.
“Finally, the only way we’ll truly move forward from Jan. 6 is by speaking truth to power—we cannot avoid it. The truth about what happened that day, about what led to the violence, about what it means for our democracy moving forward.
“I say this because too many – often depending on their allegiances – seem desperate to sweep the memory of Jan. 6 under the rug. Too many are working to re-write the history of what happened, to downplay or excuse or even defend the mob – to excuse an insurrection of this very Capitol! Too many are hoping that the American people will just look away and forget that that day ever took place.
“After all, they say, Donald Trump is no longer president, right?
“That cannot happen. We can’t let that happen. We have an obligation not to let that happen because history shows us when you ignore or paint over this kind of violent action, it will recur, often in worse form than it had originally. That’s what history shows.
“We did not look away after the attack on Pearl Harbor. We did not look away after the attacks on 9/11.
“They may have been from foreign powers, but we still, just because it was Americans who did this, we cannot look away after the attack of Jan. 6.
“What we must do instead is stare the truth, however ugly, in the face: the attack of Jan. 6 didn’t come out of the blue. It was not an act of God. It was not something that came from foreign soil. It wasn’t even just some mere protest that got out of hand.
“No, no, no, no, no. Jan. 6 was an attempt to reverse, through violent means, the outcome of a free and fair election. An insurrection. Call it what it was. And it was fundamentally rooted in Donald Trump’s Big Lie that the election of 2020 was illegitimate, in deep offense to the peaceful transfer of power. Indeed, in deep offense to the very notion of truth itself.
“And anyone who thinks that the origins of this insurrection are going away should just have listened a few moments ago when Donald Trump did it again—lying and lying and lying about the election. A clear reminder of the threat he and his lie remain to our nation.
“Alarmingly, alarmingly, many of his supporters quickly embraced the lie in the aftermath of the 2020 election. Many of them truly believed — and still believe — that he won the election and the game was rigged. Not a small number. Large numbers of Americans. If you look at the polls, tens of millions.
“It didn’t matter that there was no proof to any of these claims. Donald Trump kept saying it and saying it and saying it again, and called his supporters to rally here in Washington in a last ditch effort to stay in power.
“We all know this, that’s what happened. We cannot forget it.
“It was Donald Trump’s Big Lie that soaked our political landscape in kerosene. It was Donald Trump’s rally on the mall that struck the match. And then came the fire. And pouring gasoline on that fire are many in one branch of our media who spread the Big Lie then and continue to spread the Big Lie today, even though they know it’s false. And millions listen to these people and believe it.
“Here, too, is another terrible truth: the disease of the Big Lie continues to this day. The attacks on our democracy are ongoing, if not by the force of baseball bats and pipe bombs then certainly through a quieter, much more organized effort to subvert democracy from the bottom up.
“Just as the Big Lie inspired the attack of Jan. 6, the Big Lie continues like a disease across state legislatures throughout the country, where we’re seeing the most restrictive voter suppression efforts since Jim Crow. Since Jim Crow – in 21st century America, turning the clock way back.
“Let’s be abundantly clear: these new anti-voter laws are on the books today only because their authors cited the Big Lie, cited the fictitious bugaboo of voter fraud, and are trying to succeed where the insurrection failed.
“Unless we confront the Big Lie—unless we all do our part to fortify and strengthen our democracy—the political violence of Jan. 6 risks becoming not an aberration but, God forbid, the norm.
“And we’ve seen it too in the threats against election workers, teachers, school administrators, health care workers. We cannot put our heads in the sand. We cannot brush this over.
“And what does that mean for the Senate? I think we have to talk about the realities here today too. It means we must pass legislation, effective legislation, to defend our democracy, to protect the right to vote.
“We must pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, so that our country’s destiny is determined by the voice of the people, and not by the violent whims of lies and even mob rule.
“We must also guard against the false hopes of solutions that don’t deal with the problem, that try to cover it up or push it away because some people don’t want to deal with it. Some say the answer lies in doing the bare minimum, like reforming the Electoral Count Act that my friend the Republican leader has floated in recent days.
“Let me take this opportunity to make clear that that plan, the McConnell plan, that’s what it is, is unacceptably insufficient and even offensive. Scorekeeping matters little if the game is rigged.
“And as we know too well, state legislatures are working day and night to undermine our democratic process from the get-go, by empowering partisans to potentially say which ballots count and which do not, what good is it to accurately count a result that’s compromised from the start?
“Senator McConnell’s plan to reform the Electoral Count Act would do nothing more than codify the vice president’s ceremonial role in the counting of the electoral college votes, effectively guaranteeing that partisan state legislatures could overturn the elections without fear of recourse. Look at what it does. Look at what it does. It’s a cynical idea. It’s an idea to divert attention from the real issue because they don’t want to confront the real issue.
“This cannot be, this should not be, about one party versus another. Voting rights has always been bipartisan, supported by Bush, H.W. and W., supported by Reagan, passing this chamber with large votes from both sides of the aisle. That’s what always used to happen until the Republican Party was taken over by Donald Trump.
“So, it’s not about one party versus another. It can’t be. It is about one terrible lie against democracy itself. The kind of lie that if let stand, both verbally and in action, erodes our democracy, erodes our democracy. There’s already a substantial minority who don’t believe our elections are legitimate, aided and egged on by Donald Trump and the right-wing media.
“What if a majority of this country, because of these pernicious actions, start believing it? A majority of Americans don’t believe that elections are on the level? Just ask yourself what will happen. I can’t predict the details, but I can predict that it will diminish the greatness of this country in small and even large ways.
“So it cannot, it should not, be a partisan issue. It is about falsehood versus truth. In the history of this country we have always disagreed on ideology but never on facts until recently, and in such an important area.
“If lying about results of an election is acceptable, if instigating a mob against the government is considered permissible, if encouraging political violence becomes the norm, it will be open season on this grand democracy, this noble experiment; and everything will be up for grabs by whoever has the biggest clubs, the sharpest spears, the most effective lies.
“I do not believe that this will be the ultimate destiny of our country. The mob may be strong, but the country is stronger. The roots of democracy, the feelings of the American people and the affection and love for this grand, noble experiment in democracy is stronger as long as we speak out, as long as we act. The wellspring of democracy is deep, and even in the most difficult of times Americans have rallied and risen to the occasion.
“Since the early days of our Republic, Americans launched mighty movements, fought a bloody civil war, and—yes—passed federal election laws and voting rights laws to expand the promise of democracy until there were no more boundaries.
“We are called on, importuned, by the millions who have lost their lives to defend this democracy to defend it once again—I call on all Americans—Democrats, Republicans, Independents—to rise to the occasion and assure that the mob, the violence, the lie does not win the day.
“Let the anniversary of Jan. 6 forever serve as a reminder that the march to perfect our Democracy is never over, that our democracy is a precious, sometimes fragile gift purchased by those who struggled before us, and that all of us now must do our part to keep the American vision going in the present and into the future.
“Somehow, in ways I can’t predict, that I know are true, I am certain that God’s mysterious hand will guide us, and truth and right will prevail.”
Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va.
“One year ago, our democracy was attacked and came dangerously close to falling, prevented only by the actions of several people in key positions who did the right thing and followed the law.
“Despite the attempts of the mob that stormed the building, Congress reconvened to complete our constitutional duty to certify the election results.
“I am honored to be part of the Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol to fully understand the scope of this dark day and ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.
“My heart is with the families of the law enforcement officers who paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect our democracy.
“Abraham Lincoln said in response to potential threats to our Republic, ‘If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher.’ These words continue to ring true today.”
Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif.
“I was in the House gallery when the first insurrectionists breached the Capitol. At the time, those of us in the chamber had no clue what was happening. I thought a few rogues pushed their way through the metal detector until I heard a bang that sounded like gunfire or teargas outside the doors. It was later, once we safely evacuated, that I understood the true gravity of what was occurring: a violent, concerted effort to stop the certification ceremony that would affirm 2020’s electoral votes. It was an attack on the Constitution, our democratic systems, and the nation.
“Many Republican leaders that day — Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Minority Whip Steve Scalise, House Republican Caucus Chair Elise Stefanik and more — denounced the mob and correctly called it one of the darkest days in American history. When it came time for them to support real action, however, every single one cowered to Trump.
“Even now, they perpetuate the false notion that the election had been rigged, scoff at what should be a united effort to learn the truth, and refuse to take steps that would prevent such an act of terror from happening again. Our democracy requires the fearless participation and resolve of both political parties, and it saddens me to see how Republican leadership was too scared to stand up for America when we needed them most.
“The only way to ensure our democratic institutions survive is to ensure accountability. Democrats and the handful of Republicans who have put aside partisan differences will continue investigating the details of Jan. 6, 2021. The American people deserve answers and will not forget how their representatives responded in this moment. I remain committed to protecting the sacred cornerstones of America’s democracy and will not let up until all involved are brought to justice.”
Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus
“We watched in horror as armed insurrectionists laid siege to the seat of our democracy. We feared for our lives and the lives of our staff. We hunkered down and sent prayers up — despite this, former President Trump refused to call off his sea of sycophantic supporters hoping to dismantle democracy as we know it.
“That infamous day is a painful stain that will resonate for years to come. Jan. 6, 2021, is just one of the reasons why it is paramount we remain committed to ensuring voting rights are a priority. Passing the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act will fortify our democratic process, combat barriers to the ballot box, and targeted gerrymandering of our districts.
“In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action so that we never see a day like Jan. 6, 2021 again.”
Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, D-S.C.
“Jan. 6, 2021 will be forever known as a day of discredit and disgrace, much like Dec. 7, 1941 was ‘a date that will live in infamy,’ as described by Franklin Roosevelt. I trust that the Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack will reveal the truth about the insurrection and the American people will see the mob’s action as nothing more or less than an attempt to overturn a free and fair election. Jan. 6, 2021 underscores the need to pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act.”
Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz.
“On this day one year ago, I sat on the floor of the House of Representatives preparing to speak in support of the validity of Arizona’s election results when armed insurrectionists breached the Capitol and staff and members were rushed from the chambers. All around me I saw people running, calling out to friends, and doing what they could to help one another, their faces full of fear.
“But no fear bothered me so deeply as the alarm I saw in our Capitol Police Officers’ eyes. As a former police officer and homicide detective, I’ve seen and felt fear myself. The hardworking men and women of the force sworn to protect and serve the U.S. Capitol, members, and staff knew they were under attack. They were being brutally beaten, were committing heroic and selfless acts to keep us safe, and were, quite literally, holding the line to protect our democracy.
“Their faces are what I remembered most vividly when we learned later that a brave officer was lost to the violence of the day and four more to suicide later, with 140 suffering physical injuries and far more from injuries invisible. The numbers are unbelievable, unacceptable.
“Among loss of life, trauma, and a nation shaken, the events of Jan. 6, 2021, showed us the power that lies and division can truly have.
“The work of the former president and his allies to undermine faith in our election process by attempting to mislead the American public only served to weaken us and make us vulnerable to foreign actors who would do us harm.
“But we can heal from this, and indeed we have begun to do so. We certified the 2020 election results, have worked to rebuild trust in our democratic systems, and must continue to protect the right to vote and the power of each American’s vote. We can only do this by working together—continuing to show up to the table, striving to understand one another, and putting aside partisan differences to improve the lives of all Americans.
“Thus, as we reflect on the anniversary and the pain of this dark day, we must also think of the strength of what our nation can be—the unity we can work to build in our own communities that will create a wholly less divided America.
“I am proud to be part of a Congress that resolved to reconvene as soon as possible on this day last year to finish what we started. We could not, and did not, let anything stop us from serving the American people and fulfilling our constitutional duty. I never will.”
Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J.
“Exactly one year ago this week, I was inside the House Chamber when lawless thugs and insurrectionists breached the United States Capitol, in an attempt to upend our democracy and our 230-year tradition of a peaceful transition of power. The insurrectionists failed miserably. Democracy conquered anarchy. Once again, America was triumphant.
“While they smashed windows, broke down doors, and even tore down the American flag, the insurrectionists did not break the great American spirit. Their attempted obstruction was foiled, and our democracy persevered, even stronger.
“Now, instead of splitting us asunder, Republicans and Democrats are working in a bipartisan manner investigating the attack, so we can hold those responsible to account.
“Now, we must continue to work together to protect our electoral system, the integrity and security of our elections, and the will of the American people.
“We must all come together — across party, backgrounds, and any lines that divide us — to ensure an attack like this never happens to our nation again.
“To this day, my thoughts continue to be with the brave law enforcement brutally attacked that day and all their loved ones.
“While we must not forget the dark days we’ve been through, we must also commit ourselves to unity, civility, and truth, and embrace our calling to a higher purpose and to help strengthen our nation.”
Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D- Va.
“I was barricaded in the House Chamber on Jan. 6. I was physically there as insurrectionists — domestic terrorists — clawed at the doors of the U.S House of Representatives. Those of us stranded in the gallery were among the final members of Congress to be evacuated, and we watched as U.S. Capitol Police officers bravely fended off a violent attack.
“We furiously texted loved ones, we helped colleagues process this moment of crisis, we heard the cries of ‘hang Mike Pence’ outside the doors, and we prepared to deploy gas masks. In those moments, there is no question that we witnessed firsthand a violent attempt to undermine a free and fair election — not on foreign shores, but in the U.S. Capitol Building.
“Had it not been for the bravery of the U.S. Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department — including the more than 140 officers who were injured on that day, we very likely might have lost our lives in the House gallery’s narrow rows of chairs. Their sacrifices prevented evil from winning the day.
“We cannot and should not ‘move on’ from the events of Jan. 6, as has been suggested in recent days by several of my colleagues. These colleagues fail to recognize the severity of what occurred on that day and what has occurred in the months since. The events of that day are a warning about what can happen to the threads of our democracy when American lawmakers — including former President Donald Trump — choose to traffic in dangerous conspiracy theories.
“This day did not happen in a vacuum. Jan. 6 marked the continuation of a trend of falsehoods — and tragically, the lies that spawned this act of insurrection are still present in American politics. In the months ahead, our system will be tested. Its strength will depend on our ability to defend the truth, and its survival will depend on our commitment to combatting extremism and rejecting calls for political violence.
“But through these uncertain days, I remain confident in our country. I remain confident in the people of our nation, those who choose to serve, and the goodness of America. And I remain firm in the belief that those who attacked our democracy will receive justice. I will keep working in the U.S. House to make sure that day arrives.”
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas
“Jan. 6, 2021, will, without doubt, be recorded as one of the darkest days in our nation’s history. We all watched in shock as thousands of insurrectionists — fellow Americans poisoned by hateful and dishonest rhetoric — converged on our Capitol Building with the intent to overturn the results of a free and fair election. Now, only a year removed from this day, we have more questions than we have answers, more problems than we have solutions, and more divisiveness than we have unity. Our democracy remains in peril, not only from the remnants of Jan. 6 but also the widespread disenfranchisement of Black voters across the country. Let us therefore use this day to rededicate ourselves to the preservation of the sacred right to vote and the protection of our democratic institutions.”
Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., 1st Vice-Chair Congressional Black Caucus
“The deadly insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021 was more than an attack on a building. It was an assault against members of Congress, our staff, law enforcement, and the very soul of democracy. Rebuilding from the insurrection starts with accountability for those responsible. But it also means restoring the faith in democracy that has been damaged in recent years. As first vice chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, I join our Chairwoman Joyce Beatty to call on the Senate to act with urgency and pass a voting rights bill into law. Our democracy is only strong when all Americans have a voice in government.”
Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., 2nd Vice Chair, Congressional Black Caucus
“Jan. 6, 2021, was one of the darkest days in American history, and it’s one that I will never forget. There was a heinous attack on our Capitol, our Constitution, and our democracy. I vividly remember the sounds of gunshots, shouting, and banging on the doors all around us in the House chamber — not knowing why this was happening. Democrats and Republicans were both running for their lives that day, fearing for our safety.
“Despite the terrorist attack, we certified the election results — as is our constitutional responsibility. I want everyone to remember that while our country was shaken to its core that day, democracy did prevail. The insurrectionists did not win, democracy did. And all of us have a responsibility to protect our democracy every single day from those who seek to undermine it.
“I also want to take a moment to remember and honor the brave Capitol Officers who lost their lives and were put in harm’s way. And we recognize the Capitol workers who worked tirelessly to restore the Capitol complex in the aftermath of the attack. We must do everything in our power to make sure the insurrection never happens again. That’s exactly why I voted in favor of establishing the Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack, which is made up of Democrats and Republicans. The American people deserve answers, and we must make sure that every person who played a part in the insurrection, including government officials, are held responsible. In the year since the terrorist attack, there are those who are trying to rewrite history and diminish Jan. 6. We can’t let that happen. Let today be a reminder that while our democracy is fragile, it will always prevail — but only if we choose to do so.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams
“One year ago today we witnessed a terror attack on our Capitol. Let’s call it what it was. A violent mob tried to topple American democracy. And too many of those involved have yet to experience any real consequence for their actions.
“I’ve worn a badge to protect my city. That day still haunts me. Our system demands a shared, foundational belief that our institutions matter, whether you win or lose. Progress starts with shared values. Healing starts with accountability. We owe it to the officers we lost and who were injured that day to bring those who planned this attack to justice.”
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy
“The scene that unfolded in our nation’s capital one year ago was one of the darkest in our country’s history.
“This was not a protest, but an act of domestic terrorism bent on overturning a free and fair election, shredding the tenets of our American values, and shattering the bedrock of our democracy.
“The riot shook the sacred principles of our political system that we hold so dear and which have made us an example for the world. Defiantly, Congress returned to complete their duty. Democracy won over baseless conspiracies.
“Over the last year, our nation has been tested in many ways and we have shown the true resiliency of the American spirit. But our democracy remains fragile, and forces continue to try to exploit our division. We must continue working together, both Democrats and Republicans, to advance as one nation.
“Tammy and I again offer our condolences to all those who suffered that day, and to the family of United States Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, a New Jersey native who gave his life protecting the Capitol from violent insurrection. Officer Sicknick dedicated his life to protecting the Constitution and, by extension, upholding our democracy, and we thank him for his service to our nation.”
New Democrat Coalition Chair Suzan DelBene, D-Wash.
“One year ago today, armed insurrectionists launched an attack on the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to subvert our democracy and forcefully overturn the results of the 2020 election. We will forever be grateful for the bravery of the U.S. Capitol Police officers on Jan. 6 and pay tribute to those who lost their lives as a result of the attack.
“While our democracy proved stronger than those who carried out the assault, Jan. 6, 2021 remains a stain on our nation, and the threat to our sacred institutions persists. We must never take our democracy for granted, and it is Congress’ obligation to preserve it.
“Following the insurrection, the New Democrat Coalition worked with our colleagues to establish an independent commission to investigate the events of Jan. 6. When that effort was blocked by Senate Republicans, our members supported the creation of the bipartisan Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol in the House. New Dems are dedicated to uncovering the truth, holding accountable those responsible for this horrible day, and ensuring a deadly event like this never happens again.
“We must also remain vigilant about upholding our free and fair elections. The coalition endorsed and voted to advance both H.R.1, the For The People Act and H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to reduce corruption, strengthen our democracy, and protect access to the ballot box. But Congress’ work is not done. In order to preserve our democracy, the Senate must move swiftly to pass voting rights legislation to restore Americans’ faith in our elections and protect the fundamental right to vote.”
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
“There are days in our nation’s history that we will never forget. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt declared Dec. 7, 1941 ‘a day that will live in infamy.’ On Jan. 6, 2021, history was made in the most horrific way and it will also be a day that will live in infamy.
“Like many people, I remember that day vividly. The Capitol was busy as Congress convened to certify the results of the presidential election as the Constitution requires. Members of Congress and our staff, Capitol Police officers, journalists, custodial and hospitality staff were here and doing our work to keep our nation’s capital operating so we could fulfill our Constitutional duty.
“From the Senate floor we heard shouting outside the chamber and were quickly evacuated by selfless members of the U.S. Capitol Police. At the time, we were given no explanation and only told that we must evacuate immediately out of an abundance of caution. But from our secure location, we watched in shock as the videos and images of the men and women breaching the Capitol plastered the news. Americans across the country and people around the world did the same.
“One year later, we know without a doubt that the intent of attackers who stormed the Capitol was to prevent Congress from certifying an election for the first time in our nation’s 245-year history. Their intention was to prevent a peaceful transfer of power and to overthrow our government. The insurrectionists that day were violent, destructive and vengeful.
“But they did not succeed. The Senate resolved to return to the Senate chamber and fulfill our Constitutional duty by certifying the election results. I am proud of the way we came together — Democrats, Republicans and Independents — to get the work of the American people done.
“America is always at her best when we focus on what we have in common and put our country above politics. President Kennedy famously said, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.’ As we move forward, let us each look for ways to work with our fellow citizens to serve our nation.”
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah
“Today, we call to mind the memory of those who were tragically lost on the 6th and in the following days, and we reflect with gratitude on the heroic efforts of those who protected the U.S. Capitol and all of us inside the building. It is because of their courage that Congress ultimately fulfilled its responsibility to count the votes and that the transfer of power continued unimpeded.
“We ignore the lessons of Jan. 6 at our own peril. Democracy is fragile; it cannot survive without leaders of integrity and character who care more about the strength of our Republic than about winning the next election. I said last year that the best way we can show respect for voters who are upset is by telling them the truth. The responsibility that elected officials have in this regard is fundamental to reversing the malaise gripping our current politics and ensuring that our democracy endures.”
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
“Jan. 6, 2021 was a dark day for Congress and our country. The United States Capitol, the seat of the first branch of our federal government, was stormed by criminals who brutalized police officers and used force to try to stop Congress from doing its job. This disgraceful scene was antithetical to the rule of law.
“One year later, I am as grateful as ever for the brave men and women of the U.S. Capitol Police who served our institution bravely that day and every day since. I continue to support justice for those who broke the law.
“As I said yesterday, it has been stunning to see some Washington Democrats try to exploit this anniversary to advance partisan policy goals that long predated this event. It is especially jaw-dropping to hear some Senate Democrats invoke the mob’s attempt to disrupt our country’s norms, rules, and institutions as a justification to discard our norms, rules, and institutions themselves.
“A year ago today, the Senate did not bend or break. We stuck together, stood strong, gaveled back in, and did our job. Senators should not be trying to exploit this anniversary to damage the Senate in a different way from within.”