In their speeches marking the first anniversary of the January 6 protests Thursday, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris demanded the Senate pass legislation to federalize American elections.
Harris and Biden both used the occasion to warn that the future of American democracy was at stake.
The vice president referred directly to the multiple Democrat-led bills that would federalize local and state elections and overturn election security laws passed around the country.
“Here, in this very building, a decision will be made about whether we uphold the right to vote and ensure free and fair election,” Harris said. “Let’s be clear: We must pass the voting rights bills that are now before the Senate.”
The vice president said the violent protests of the 2020 election on Capitol Hill were evidence of how fragile American democracy had become.
“The fragility of democracy is this, that if we are not vigilant, if we do not defend it, democracy simply will not stand. It will falter, and fail,” she said.
She indicated that the January 6 protesters were trying to overthrow democracy by protesting the 2020 election.
“We cannot let our future be decided by those bent on silencing our voices, overturning our votes, and peddling lies and misinformation,” she said, “by some radical faction that may be newly resurgent but whose roots run old and deep.”
Biden was less direct about election legislation, but condemned Republican efforts to secure future elections.
“The former president and supporters have decided the only way for them to win is to suppress your vote and subvert our elections,” he said. “It is wrong. It’s undemocratic. And frankly, it’s un-American.”
Biden presented himself as the defender of democracy against the “mob” fueled by Trump.
“I will stand in this breach, I will defend this nation, I will allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of democracy,” he said. “We will make sure the will of the people is heard, that the ballot prevails, not violence.”