President Joe Biden will kick off his 2024 pitch to voters Friday, the day before the anniversary of the violent riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, by posing the question of whether democracy is still a “sacred cause” worth sacrificing for.
Biden believes the upcoming election is largely about that question, according to a Biden adviser who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the Democratic president’s expected remarks. Whether or not the nation agrees may end up a central question of the 2024 race.
The president will speak from near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, where George Washington and the Continental Army spent a bleak winter nearly 250 years ago. And he’ll talk about how Washington spoke to his army about democracy as a “sacred cause.”
The Jan. 6 attack was a vivid reminder of how that democracy can be tested, Biden is expected to say, according to the adviser.
Biden will also lay out then-President Donald Trump’s role in the attack, as a mob of the Republican’s supporters overran the Capitol. More than 100 police officers were bloodied, beaten and attacked by the rioters who overwhelmed authorities to break into the building in an effort to stop the certification of votes for Biden, who had won the 2020 election.
At least nine people who were at the Capitol that day died during or after the rioting, including several officers who died of suicide, a woman who was shot and killed by police as she tried to break into the House chamber, and three other Trump supporters whom authorities said suffered medical emergencies.
Although the chaos of Jan. 6 came down on members of both political parties, it is being remembered in a largely polarized fashion now, like other aspects of political life in a divided country.