US president Joe Biden has blamed his predecessor Donald Trump for the riots at the US Capitol a year ago, and suggested that he and his allies who incited and instigated the attack held a dagger to the throat of US democracy.
In an address to mark the anniversary of the assault on the US Capitol in Washington, Mr Biden said the US was at an inflection point in history. He said that both at home and abroad it was “engaged anew in a struggle between democracy and autocracy”.
He suggested that Mr Trump had turned to violence to try to overturn the presidential election in November 2020, which he had lost.
“For the first time in our history a president not just lost an election, he tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob breached the Capitol.”
Mr Biden's comments came as another former US president Jimmy Carter warned he also feared for American democracy.
He said he was worried “that what we have fought so hard to achieve globally – the right to free, fair elections, unhindered by strongman politicians who seek nothing more than to grow their own power – has become dangerously fragile at home”.
Mr Biden said Mr Trump – whom he did not name directly but referred to as the former president – had rallied the mob to attack and then sat in the private diningroom off the Oval Office in the White House, "watching it all on television and doing nothing for hours as police were assaulted, lives at risk, and the nation's capital under siege".
Mr Trump in a statement repeated his claims that the presidential election was rigged, and hit out at Mr Biden and the investigation being carried out by Congress into the events.
“This political theatre is all just a distraction for the fact Biden has completely and totally failed,” Mr Trump said, accusing his successor of having adopted “insane policies” on multiple fronts.
Congresswoman Liz Cheney – a long-time critic of Mr Trump – and her father, former vice-president Dick Cheney, appeared to be the only Republicans in the House of Representatives for a brief ceremony to mark the anniversary of the events of January 6th.