Telling Americans we can't allow ourselves to be a nation that lives "not by the light of the truth but in the shadow of lies," President Joe Biden marked the first anniversary of the deadly Capitol insurrection by pointedly calling out former President Donald Trump for spreading the misinformation and distrust that, he says, caused his supporters to mount the violent assault a year ago.
Four people died and scores of police officers were injured January 6, 2021 when thousands of supporters of the former president marched to the Capitol and hundreds then assaulted it, aiming to prevent the certification of Biden's presidential victory.
"Here is the truth," said Biden, standing this morning in the Capitol's Statuary Hall, "the former president of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election. He's done so because he values power over principle. Because he sees his own interest as more important than his country's interest and America's interest. And because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our constitution. He can't accept he lost."
The speech was the first of several ways the president and Congress -- Democrats mostly -- planned to commemorate the occasion. Thursday afternoon, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called for a moment of silence on the House floor in honor of the three police officers whose deaths, due to health condition or suicide, are tied to the assault.
Four people in the mob died on January 6, 2021, including Ashli Babbitt, 35, who was fatally shot while trying to climb through the broken window of a barricaded door leading to the Speaker’s Lobby.
President Biden said his thoughts were with the families of all those who died as a result of the siege but insisted those who stormed the Capitol were not patriots.
"You can't love your country only when you win," Biden said. "You can't obey the law only when it's convenient. You can't be patriotic when you embrace and enable lies."
Oklahoma's all-Republican delegation has been mostly silent on the anniversary. Fifth District Congresswoman Stephanie Bice, who'd been sworn in just three days earlier and was in the House balcony when rioters tried to break in, released a statement Thursday, saying in part: “The events of January 6, 2021 are not a reflection of who we are as a country. The breach of the U.S. Capitol building and subsequent violence that occurred undermine the very foundation of our democracy."
But Rep. Bice, in her statement, also acknowledged that President Trump's unsubstantiated claim of election fraud is still a powerful influence within the GOP.
"A peaceful transfer of power is imperative," Bice stated, "but I empathize with those whose frustrations with the electoral process remain unresolved. Executive and judicial branches in certain states acted in an unconstitutional manner by implementing changes to state election laws, which is clearly a role designated to state legislatures under the U.S. Constitution."
Aside from Bice, Representative Markwayne Mullin (R-OK2) is the only other member of Oklahoma's delegation to agree to a request for a statement or interview regarding the anniversary.
In an interview this week, Rep. Mullin said January 6, 2022 "is just going to be a day for me."
Mullin, and many other Republicans, believe Democrats are using the memory of insurrection for political purposes. He says, fine, let them do that.
"But if we are not going to learn from the lessons and move forward," said Mullin, "then I’m not going to waste any time reflecting on it. I’m just going to move forward with my life...I’m going to realize that there’s still some lessons that can be learned there and I’m going to do better myself and that’s the only thing I can control."