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Jan 6th Anniversary of US Capitol Attack: Minute of Silence, Biden’s remarks expected to draw mostly Democrats

Jan 6th Anniversary of US Capitol Attack: Minute of Silence, Biden’s remarks expected to draw mostly Democrats

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WASHINGTON — Such is the rift within the country, between political parties, and within the Republican Party itself that a time-honored Washington specialty — commemorating and coming together over national trauma — is no longer what it once was.

Friday’s minute of silence at the Capitol to reflect on the Jan. 6, 2021 attack was expected to draw mostly Democrats.

At the White House, few Republicans were expected to attend a ceremony where President Joe Biden will present Presidential Citizens Medals to a dozen state and local officials, poll workers and police officers for their “exemplary service to their country or their fellow citizens.” in maintaining 2020 election results and fighting the Capitol mob.

It’s all a far cry from September 11, 2001, when lawmakers who had desperately evacuated the Capitol during the terrorist attack gathered there in a moment of silence later in the day and erupted in “God Bless America,” rubbing shoulders with Republicans and Democrat shoulder.

“They stood shaken and weeping on the steps of the Capitol, their love for the nation and all that it symbolizes being visible to the world,” reported an Australian newspaper in a passage now reflected in the House’s official history.

Today the world sees a different picture, one of turbulence in American democracy emerging from the institution overrun by insurgents two years ago.

The nation’s legislature is once again paralyzed — this time not by violence but by a tortuous struggle between Republicans over who should lead them and the House of Representatives itself as speaker.

Certainly, a solution to the immediate crisis may be near as the GOP leadership resumes negotiations to placate its far-right flank, but questions are looming over the chamber’s ability to enact even key legislation such as government funding and meetings the government to manage the nation’s debt obligations.

Biden will tell heroic tales in his afternoon speeches, whether in the face of a violent mob in the Capitol or a vehement horde of Donald Trump-inspired agitators threatening poll workers or otherwise trying to overturn the results. He will call for unity.

But the Democratic president can’t ignore the warning signs it could happen again.

At mid-term, candidates who denied the outcome of the free and fair 2020 election were defeated for many key nationwide positions in election oversight in battleground states, as were a number of election-deniers seeking a seat in Congress.

Yet many of the lawmakers who made unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud or condoned the Jan. 6 violence continue to serve and are newly empowered.

Trump’s 2024 candidacy has been slow to get off the ground, but his war chest is full and some potential rivals for the Republican presidential nomination have channeled his bogus claims about the 2020 race.

Several lawmakers, too, who repeated his lies about a then-stolen election, are playing a central role in efforts to prevent Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s rise to the ranks of Speaker — unperturbed by Trump’s calls from afar to support him and end the fight.

The protracted struggle leaves the House leaderless, unable to pass bills and powerless to do much more than hold vote after vote for a Speaker until a majority is reached. Everything from national security briefings to helping their constituents navigate federal bureaucracy is on hold because elected members cannot yet take their oath of office.

Some Democrats see a solid line from January 6th.

The chaos surrounding the speaker election “is about destroying an institution in a different way,” said Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, one of the lawmakers who fled the rioters two years ago.

Then the insurgents captured some legislators in the House of Representatives chamber but never broke through. They held up national business for hours that day.

Now some feel trapped in the same chamber by the repeated fruitless votes for Speaker – 11 votes so far – and House business is held up and counting for the week.

“The stream of continuity here is extremism, elements of Trumpism, norms don’t matter,” says Democratic Representative Mike Quigley of Illinois. “It’s not about governing, it’s about preaching and taking an extremist view.”

Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster of New Hampshire said, “It’s a very small minority that wants to throw this institution into chaos.”

After the unsatisfactory midterm elections for Trump allies, the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack concluded its work with a recommendation for the Justice Department to prosecute the former president. A special counsel and eventually Attorney General Merrick Garland will now decide whether to charge him.

While the congressional investigation has concluded, the criminal proceedings are still ongoing, both for the 950 arrested and accused of the violent attack, and for Trump and his associates, who remain under investigation. The second seditious conspiracy trial begins this week against members of the far-right Proud Boys.

In a measured but significant step, Congress in December amended the Electoral Counts Act to limit the vice president’s role in counting election votes, make it harder for individual lawmakers to object to properly certified election results, and eliminate “wrong voters.” . like those deployed by Trump allies to reverse his defeat by Biden.

After all of that, Biden, who had made it a tentstick of his agenda to prove to the world that democracies can do something for their citizens, had hoped that this would be “the first time we’ve really looked at the whole issue in terms of.” 6/1 Things are calming down.”

But then came the battle for the orator, rare in the annals of Congress.

“And now, for the first time in 100 years, we can’t move?” Biden said earlier this week. “It doesn’t look good. It’s not good.”

“Look,” he continued, “how do you think the rest of the world is doing?”

Will Rogers’ enduring quip – “I’m not a member of any organized political party. I’m a Democrat” – now looks dated and out of place. Democrats unanimously voted for their new House Speaker, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, in a seamless transition from Nancy Pelosi.

Two years after January 6 and Trump’s subsequent departure, the Republicans, the party for which the longest queue usually meant victory, are now the party of factions and disorder.


Associated Press writer Colleen Long contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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