The Strongest Words in Joe Biden’s January 6 Speech Were Donald Trump’s

“We all know who Donald Trump is.”

Ricky Fitchett/Zuma

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On Friday, ahead of the third anniversary of the January 6 Capitol attack, President Joe Biden delivered an impassioned campaign speech on what he framed as an urgent matter: This year, “democracy is on the ballot.” 

Much of the 30-minute speech—delivered near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, and available to watch in full here—stayed true to Biden’s familiar brand of American patriotism. The president revisited the day we “nearly lost America,” condemned political violence, and praised the “ordinary citizens, state election officials,” and “the American judicial system,” which, he said, “put the Constitution first” in the fallout from the 2020 election.

“Because of them, because of you,” he said, “The will of the people prevailed.”

But the address was also a searing indictment of Donald Trump—and a warning. Biden reminded viewers of Trump’s plans if he wins the presidency in 2024, repeatedly invoking the former president’s own words and actions. “Trump’s assault on democracy isn’t just part of his past,” Biden said. “It’s what he’s promising for the future. He’s been straightforward.”

“His first rally for the 2024 campaign,” Biden said of Trump, “opened with a choir of January 6th insurrectionists singing from prison on a cellphone while images of the January 6th riot played on the big screen behind him at his rally.”

“Can you believe that?” Biden asked.

Biden went on: “The guy who claims law and order sows lawlessness and disorder…Trump is now promising a full-scale campaign of revenge and retribution, his words, for some years to come. They were his words, not mine.” Biden also reminded the audience that Trump has said he’d be a dictator on “day one” and has called for “the termination of rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution,” to overturn election results. 

“It’s really kind of hard to believe,” Biden said.

“He calls those who oppose him vermin,” Biden continued. “He talks about [how] the blood of America is being poisoned, echoing the same exact language used in Nazi Germany. He proudly posts on social media the words that best describe his 2024 campaign: Quote, revenge, quote, power, and quote, dictatorship. There’s no confusion about who Trump is, what he intends do.”

A word cloud that Trump posted to Truth Social featuring words like "power," "revenge," and "dictatorship."

In 2023, Donald Trump posted a word cloud to Truth Social including words like “power,” “revenge,” and “dictatorship.” The Daily Mail produced the graphic to showcase words poll respondents associated with a second Trump term.

Truth Social/Daily Mail

The message, of course, was that Biden offers a different path. Rather than authoritarian rule, Biden promised that “the defense, protection, and preservation” of democracy will remain “the central cause” of his presidency.

“We all know who Donald Trump is,” he said. “The question we have to answer is, who are we?”

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