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Biden appeals for unity at National Prayer Breakfast

Biden appeals for unity at National Prayer Breakfast
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President Biden on Thursday called on the country to come together to defeat a host of challenges while giving in remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast, reflecting on the pain caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the need to confront “political extremism” in the wake of a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol.

In brief remarks to the virtual breakfast, Biden described faith as a tool that can lead the country out of its current dark period. He noted that more than 400,000 Americans have died to COVID-19 and millions have lost jobs because of the pandemic-induced economic crisis. Biden also spoke of the need to deliver racial justice and address the crisis of climate change.

“We just witnessed images we never imagined, images that now we will never forget: a violent assault on the U.S. Capitol, assault on our democracy, on our Capitol. A violent attack that threatened lives and took lives. We know now that we must confront and defeat political extremism, white supremacy and domestic terrorism,” Biden said, referring to the Jan. 6 riot in which supporters of former President TrumpDonald TrumpSunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans Navajo Nation president on Arizona's new voting restrictions: An 'assault' on our rights The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez MORE stormed the building as a joint session of Congress met to certify Biden's Electoral College victory. 

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“For so many in our nation, this is a dark, dark time. So where do we turn? Faith. Kierkegaard wrote, ‘Faith sees best in the dark.’ I believe that to be true. For me, in the darkest moments faith provides hope and solace, it provides clarity and purpose as well. It shows the way forward,” Biden continued. 

Biden went on to call for national unity — echoing the message he has sent throughout his campaign and first days in the Oval Office.

He struck a markedly different tone than Trump, his predecessor, who at last year’s breakfast boasted about his acquittal in his first impeachment trial and questioned the faith of his political opponents. Last year’s breakfast was also in person, taking place early on in the pandemic and before strict restrictions on gatherings were adopted to blunt the spread of the virus.  

Biden on Thursday described those who have lost health care, faced eviction or died from the coronavirus not as “Democrats and Republicans” but as “fellow Americans, fellow human beings.” He demanded that the country moves beyond partisan divides in order to confront the pandemic and expressed confidence that the U.S. would move past the difficult days of the pandemic, but he warned that "many difficult nights" are still to come.

“This is not a nation that can or will simply stand by and watch this. That’s not who we are. It’s not who faith calls us to be,” Biden said. “In this moment, we cannot be timid or tired. We have too much work to do. It’s by our work, not just our words, that we’re going to be judged.”