United States: Biden, Trump to address nation on split screen on January 6 anniversary

Joe Biden and Donald Trump.
Image credit: AFP

Washington: A divided nation will experience an ominous split-screen moment on Thursday when President Joe Biden uses the anniversary of the Jan.6 attack on Congress to warn of threats to US democracy and that Donald Trump will broadcast its conspiracy theories.

A year after a crowd of Trump supporters marched through Congress in an attempt to prevent lawmakers from certifying Biden’s presidential victory, the political wounds are far from over.

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are said to have spoken from inside the Capitol, the setting during the unrest of almost unbelievable scenes as Trump supporters battled the police to invade the heart of American democracy.

As a seasoned politician who came out of retirement to take on what he saw as Trump’s authoritarian presidency, Biden often warned during his freshman year in the White House of an “existential” threat to them. political freedoms that until now most Americans have taken for granted.

Her speech – which is part of a series of events about what Biden’s key ally, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, says is a “tough day” – should take that warning to a new level.

But as Congress holds a prayer vigil for what Biden called “a dark moment,” Trump will give a press conference from his luxury property in Mar-a-Lago, Florida.

Its message is also easy to predict. Despite the loss of more than seven million votes to Biden and the loss of several court challenges across the country, Trump continues to tout outlandish claims that the 2020 election was stolen.

And the accusations are just the most inflammatory part of a larger attack on Biden on everything from immigration to Covid-19, all adding to what looks a lot like an as yet undeclared attempt to resume power in 2024.

It is a campaign that Carl Tobias, professor at the law school of the University of Richmond, calls “unprecedented in the history of the United States”.

“No former president has tried to do so much to discredit his successor and the democratic process,” said Tobias.

What can Biden do?

As ludicrous as the electoral conspiracy theory may be – a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Trump’s case “tense” and “speculative” – ​​it is considered the truth by millions of Americans.

Polls consistently show that around 70% of Republicans believe Biden was illegally elected.

A new Washington Post-University of Maryland poll puts that number at 58 percent. However, that same poll found that 40% of Republicans, compared to 23% of Democrats, believe violence against the government is sometimes justified.

Fighting what Mark Master Trump popularizes as “theft,” has become a political ideology in its own right, with nearly every Republican lawmaker squirming to avoid criticizing what happened on January 6 – or actively defending the attack.

Lara Brown, director of the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University, said the combination of political crooks looking to get into Trump’s good books and masses of voters tricked into believing what they are being told said was a tremendous force.

“What is so frightening about our current situation is not only that these are elite attacks, but that they are fueled by a grassroots movement,” she said.

“It wasn’t just right-wing winning groups that organized themselves” on January 6, she said. “It was ordinary, ordinary Americans who had bought into this whole notion.”

It’s unclear what, if anything, Biden can do to change this dynamic.

Democratic political scientist and pollster Rachel Bitecofer urged Biden to take on Trump more aggressively, rather than just pretending that the man press secretary Jen Psaki called “the old guy” isn’t has more importance.

Biden “is not commemorating an event that has ended. He is commemorating the event that is ongoing and is threatening to worsen,” she said.

“There is a real reluctance to accept the virulence of the right to attack democracy here.”

Brown said, however, that Biden had little wiggle room because a direct attack on Trump risked sounding like a “political witch hunt” – exactly what the former president claims in his conspiracy theories.