Former President Obama on Thursday called out the Republican Party in a statement commemorating the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, arguing that the GOP is holding Americans back from defending democracy and freedom across the globe.

Obama, without mentioning the GOP by name, said top voices in the Republican Party are “actively undermining democracy at home,” which is preventing the U.S. from setting an example on the world stage. 

“Historically, Americans have been defenders of democracy and freedom around the world — especially when it’s under attack,” Obama wrote.

“But we can’t serve that role when leading figures in one of our major political parties are actively undermining democracy at home,” he added. “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.”

Obama’s striking statement came around the same time President Biden delivered a searing rebuke of former President Trump in remarks from the Capitol building, which was overrun with a violent mob exactly one year ago on Thursday.

Biden, without mentioning Trump by name, said the former president “values power over principle, because he sees his own interest as more important than his country’s interest, America’s interest, and because his bruised ego means more to him than our democracy and our Constitution.”

“He can’t accept he lost,” the president added. At one point, Biden described his predecessor as a “defeated former president.” Vice President Kamala Harris also delivered remarks from Statutory Hall on the somber anniversary.

Biden and Harris’s speeches were the first in a series of events the House has scheduled to recognize one year since the Jan. 6 attack.

Historians Jon Meacham and Doris Kearns Goodwin are slated to participate in a conversation “to establish and preserve the narrative of January 6th” later in the day, and a moment of silence on the House floor is scheduled.

Obama on Thursday said the Jan. 6 attack “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,” he added.

He also waded into the debate over voting rights in America, calling out GOP-led state legislatures that have enacted restrictive election regulations in the wake of the 2020 presidential race.

Between Jan. 1 and Dec. 7 of last year, at least 19 states approved 34 laws restricting voting access, according to the Brennan Center.

Obama said state officials have “made it harder to vote,” and some have attempted to amend the process for certifying election results.

“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,” Obama wrote.

“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,” he added.

The former president pointed out GOP officials and top thinkers “who have courageously stood their ground and rejected such anti-democratic efforts,” noting that “they have been ostracized, primaried, and driven from the party.”

Tags Barack Obama Donald Trump Joe Biden

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video