“Not even during the Civil War did insurrectionists breach our Capitol, the citadel of our democracy. But six months ago today, insurrectionists did.”
Those were the words of President Joe Biden on Tuesday, marking the six-month anniversary of the deadly Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of pro-Trump supporters.
In a statement Tuesday evening, Biden called the incident “a violent and deadly assault on the people’s house,” and expressed his condolences to the families of Capitol Police officers who died or were severely injured.
“This was not dissent,” he said. “It was disorder. It posed an existential crisis and a test of whether our democracy could survive — a sad reminder that there is nothing guaranteed about our democracy.”
Biden noted that, looking back, “unequivocally … democracy did prevail,” and said all Americans — Democrats, Republicans and indepedents — must work together to uphold decency and the rule of law, and that government must protect the “fundamental” right to vote.
“It also requires all of us to remember who we are as a nation at our best — and that we are so much better than what we saw on January 6th,” Biden said.
More than 500 people have been arrested for their role in the Capitol insurrection, and the Justice Department is still actively seeking more suspects. On Tuesday the FBI released 11 new videos of rioters attacking police officers, and appealed for the public’s help in identifying them.
Separately, a court filing revealed Tuesday that two Virginia men in a militia-style group conducted “surveillance efforts” at the Capitol more than a month after the riot. “Good opportunity to expose weaknesses,” one man said in an encrypted message Feb. 13, according to the filing. Federal authorities have warned that right-wing extremists could attempt to stoke violence in the coming months, particularly in August, as some falsely believe Donald Trump could be reinstated as president then.