Local, national figures reflect on 1 year since Capitol insurrection

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Thursday marks one year since one of the darkest days in the history of the United States, when an armed crowd stormed the U.S. Capitol in an effort to overturn the 2020 election results.

President Joe Biden delivered what he declared was the "God's truth" marking the first anniversary of the insurrection, the violent attack by Donald Trump's supporters that has fundamentally changed Congress and raised global concerns about the future of American democracy.

Biden's criticism was particularly blistering of then-President Trump and his violent supporters.

"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," Biden said. "But they failed."

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Bill Ritter has more as the nation marks one year since the deadly riots.



Here's what other prominent local and national figures are saying:

Former President Barack Obama:
One year ago, a violent attack on our Capitol made it clear just how fragile the American experiment in democracy really is. And while the broken windows have been repaired and many of the rioters have been brought to justice, the truth is that our democracy is at greater risk today than it was back then.

Although initially rejected by many Republicans, the claims that fanned the flames of violence on January 6th have since been embraced by a sizeable portion of voters and elected officials - many of whom know better. State legislatures across the country have not only made it harder to vote, but some have tried to assert power over core election processes including the ability to certify election results. And those remaining Republican officials and thought leaders who have courageously stood their ground and rejected such anti-democratic efforts have been ostracized, primaried, and driven from the party.

Historically, Americans have been defenders of democracy and freedom around the world - especially when it's under attack. But we can't serve that role when leading figures in one of our two major political parties are actively undermining democracy at home. We can't set an example when our own leaders are willing to fabricate lies and cast doubt on the results of free and fair elections.

Our system of government has never been automatic. If we want our children to grow up in a true democracy - not just one with elections, but one where every voice matters and every vote counts - we need to nurture and protect it. Today, that responsibility falls to all of us. And on this anniversary, nothing is more important.

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The U.S. Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, has been described as the worst attack on American democracy since the Civil War.


New York City Mayor Eric Adams:
One year ago today we witnessed a terror attack on our Capitol. Let's call it what it was. A violent mob tried to topple American democracy. And too many of those involved have yet to experience any real consequence for their actions.

I've worn a badge to protect my city. That day still haunts me. Our system demands a shared, foundational belief that our institutions matter, whether you win or lose. Progress starts with shared values. Healing starts with accountability. We owe it to the officers we lost and who were injured that day to bring those who planned this attack to justice.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy:
The scene that unfolded in our nation's capital one year ago was one of the darkest in our country's history.

This was not a protest, but an act of domestic terrorism bent on overturning a free and fair election, shredding the tenets of our American values, and shattering the bedrock of our democracy.

The riot shook the sacred principles of our political system that we hold so dear and which have made us an example for the world. Defiantly, Congress returned to complete their duty. Democracy won over baseless conspiracies.

Over the last year, our nation has been tested in many ways and we have shown the true resiliency of the American spirit. But our democracy remains fragile, and forces continue to try to exploit our division. We must continue working together, both Democrats and Republicans, to advance as one nation.

Tammy and I again offer our condolences to all those who suffered that day, and to the family of United States Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, a New Jersey native who gave his life protecting the Capitol from violent insurrection. Officer Sicknick dedicated his life to protecting the Constitution and, by extension, upholding our democracy, and we thank him for his service to our nation.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont:
If you stand up for democracy and stand by our police, then all Republicans and Democrats alike must denounce the January 6th insurrection at the US Capitol and those who inspired it.

New York Attorney General Letitia James:
As public servants, we must be committed to protecting this country from all enemies, foreign and domestic. But, one year ago today, the former president of the United States and his supporters in Congress led hundreds of American citizens to a violent assault on our democracy.

On January 6th, we all watched in horror as our nation's capital was attacked, as law enforcement officers were beaten, and as an angry mob tried to overturn the results of a lawful election.

After a year, we need to see every person involved in this assault on our nation brought to justice, with punishments that fit their crimes. We need to see the House of Representatives and the Department of Justice bring the full weight of their legal power down on attempts to obstruct their investigations. And we need our leaders in Congress to act with urgency to pass strong laws that protect the right to vote, and erect legal barriers to prevent any future president from taking unlawful steps to overturn a legitimate election.

To be clear, our democracy can only work if we all play by the same rules, so it's time that we finally pursue justice against those involved in this attempted coup, without fear or favor.

Senator Bob Menendez:
One year ago today, the world watched in horror as our sacred temple of democracy, the U.S. Capitol building, was besieged by fellow Americans. This was the culmination of a months-long, coordinated campaign by former President Trump to sow deep distrust in the integrity of our elections because he refused to accept defeat in a free and fair election.

That day, the foundation of our constitutional order was severely eroded. Democracy prevailed when the brave men and women of the Capitol police force, including fallen hero and New Jersey native Brian Sicknick, and DC's Metropolitan Police Department fought valiantly to protect our elected leaders. Their sacrifice made it possible for us to fulfill our constitutional duty to certify the election results.

Since then, however, the same American leaders who threatened the survival of the Republic have sought to further undermine our constitution and democratic process. Former President Trump continues to question the results of the 2020 election and he has encouraged his supporters to do the same. In states all across the country, the right to vote, the bedrock of any healthy and functioning democracy, is under attack. We cannot remain silent in the face of such blatant affronts to our multiracial democracy, the integrity of our elections, and the fundamental right to vote.

Last year's insurrection must serve as a moment of national reckoning, a clarion call for all Americans to uphold our collective responsibility to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. We must reaffirm our commitment to doing everything necessary to ensure our Republic prevails, stronger and more resilient than ever before. That's why we must continue to advance our efforts in the Senate to protect our democracy and safeguard the sacred right to vote.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
January 6th, 2021 was a dark day for Congress and our country. The United States Capitol, the seat of the first branch of our federal government, was stormed by criminals who brutalized police officers and used force to try to stop Congress from doing its job. This disgraceful scene was antithetical to the rule of law. One year later, I am as grateful as ever for the brave men and women of the U.S. Capitol Police who served our institution bravely that day and every day since. I continue to support justice for those who broke the law.

As I said yesterday, it has been stunning to see some Washington Democrats try to exploit this anniversary to advance partisan policy goals that long predated this event. It is especially jaw-dropping to hear some Senate Democrats invoke the mob's attempt to disrupt our country's norms, rules, and institutions as a justification to discard our norms, rules, and institutions themselves.

A year ago today, the Senate did not bend or break. We stuck together, stood strong, gaveled back in, and did our job. Senators should not be trying to exploit this anniversary to damage the Senate in a different way from within.

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Derick Waller explains how Democrats have sought to turn the anniversary into a rallying cry to pass federal voting rights legislation.


Congressman Darrell Issa:
Much has happened in the last year, and almost all of it since January 6th.

That was a difficult day to be in the Capitol. But the weeks and months that followed have been devastating for the nation. Today is an ideal occasion to reflect on that fact.

In 2021, America clearly lost control of its southern borders after the Biden Administration opened them to more than a million migrants, including terrorists and violent criminals. The Biden policies also caused tens of thousands of children to be sent or smuggled. Many of them were injured, abused and trafficked. Some died along the way. An unprecedented supply of fentanyl has also poured in, destroying numerous lives. No significant action was taken by this Administration to stop any of this this.

In 2021, our economy suffered from historic joblessness, supply chain disruptions, business closures and the cruelest tax of all: rapid and rising inflation. This White House has no plan to make the economy better and many that will make it worse.

In 2021, the White House badly mishandled its COVID-19 policy. It neither shut down the virus as the President promised, nor carried out the testing system that it demanded be done. On an almost daily basis, the President misleads the nation through masking practices that contradict science, stands by while more and more schools are shut down and repeats clear falsehoods about the vaccines and variants. His demand for destructive vaccine mandates is outrageous - a clear contradiction of our Constitution, federal statute, and common sense.

In 2021, America suffered a deadly and humiliating exit from Afghanistan, which was the product of this President alone. He sent our service members into a confusing mission that cost them their lives, then compounded his betrayal by abandoning hundreds of American citizens in one of the most dangerous places on earth, which he pledged never to do. The months since then have been a continued failure to bring our people home. Many are still there.

"These are only some of the difficult challenges that America encountered last year and continues to endure today. My colleagues and I are united and determined that America's priorities - for our economy, public health and national security - need new ideas and a new direction.

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