Doubling Down on Division: Joe Biden Uses Capitol Riot to Demonize Trump's Entire Presidency

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

On Thursday, incoming President Joe Biden undermined his message of “unity” by demonizing Donald Trump’s entire presidency. He argued that the mob attack on the U.S. Capitol was the culmination of Trump’s alleged assault on America’s institutions, from the free press to the intelligence community to the courts and the Department of Justice. He also compared the Capitol riots with Black Lives Matter protests without condemning the riots that followed the Black Lives Matter protests.


Biden began his remarks by rightly condemning the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. “What we witnessed yesterday was not dissent, it was not disorder, it was not protest. It was chaos. They weren’t protesters, don’t dare call them protesters. They were a riotous mob, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists. It’s that basic, it’s that simple,” Biden said, issuing the full condemnation he should have given to the antifa and Black Lives Matter mobs this summer.

Then he used that horror to smear Trump’s entire presidency.

“We could see it coming. The past four years we’ve had a president who has made his contempt for our democracy, our constitution, the rule of law clear in everything he has done,” Biden declared. Yes, “everything he has done.”

The Democrat then went on to list Trump’s alleged four-year attack on democracy.

“He unleashed an all-out assault on our institutions of our democracy from the outset. And yesterday was the culmination of that unrelenting attack,” Biden argued.

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The Democrat listed tired far-left talking points as if he were writing an article for the Huffington Post.

He said Trump has “attacked the free press who dared to question his power, repeatedly calling the free press ‘the enemy of the people,’ language at the time he first used it, I and others said has long been used by autocrats and dictators all over the world to hold on to power.”


Yes, Trump went overboard with the “enemy of the people” claim — but he was right to decry the horrific bias of the legacy media. Meanwhile, Barack Obama actually attacked the free press, threatening journalists when they wrote negative stories, spying on James Rosen and threatening him with jailtime, and trying to put government monitors in newsrooms.

Biden also claimed that Trump had “attacked our intelligence services, who dared tell the American people the truth about the effort of a foreign power to elect him four years ago, choosing instead to believe the word of Vladimir Putin over the word of those who’ve sworn their allegiance to this nation, many of whom had risked their lives in the service of this nation.”

While Trump did flatter Putin to his face, the Trump administration stood up to Russia. More importantly, Trump’s repeated complaints that the intelligence community under Obama spied on Trump’s campaign during the 2016 election have proven true. Biden’s remarks here suggested that the scandal known variously as “Spygate” or “Obamagate” did not happen and that Trump had no reason to complain about intelligence abuses. The exact opposite is true, and it is absolutely horrendous for Biden to use the Capitol riot as an excuse to resurrect the long-debunked Russia collusion narrative.

Biden also accused Trump of having “deployed the United States military, tear-gassing peaceful protesters in pursuit of a photo opportunity in the service of his reelection, even holding the Bible upside down.”


While Trump’s walk to St. John’s Episcopal Church did leave many scratching their heads, Biden has repeatedly attacked the episode without mentioning the fact that Black Lives Matter protests the night before had devolved into a riot and the mob had set fire to that very church. If Biden wishes to go into high dudgeon to condemn the Capitol riots, he should also condemn the riots that set fire to that historic church.

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Biden also attacked Trump’s record on the judiciary, acting as though every judge and Supreme Court justice Trump appointed was an attack on the independence of the courts.

“He thought he could stack the courts with friendly judges who would support him no matter what. They were ‘Trump judges,’ his judges,” Biden charged. “He went so far as to say he needed nine justices on the Supreme Court because he thought the election would end up in the Supreme Court and they would hand him the election.”

“He was stunned, truly stunned, when the judges he appointed didn’t do his bidding and instead acted with integrity, following the constitution, upholding the rule of law, not just once or twice or three times but over 60 times,” the Democrat noted.

After the election, Trump did indeed seem to believe that the originalist judges and justices he had appointed should rule in his favor on election-related matters. The president appears to have seized on the very real irregularities — which the legacy media shamefully denies — and convinced himself that he won by a “landslide.” Yet even if he legitimately believed the election was stolen from him, his statements attempting to pressure judges, the vice president, and Congress to essentially throw out the election have been beyond the pale.


That said, Trump did not nominate these judges and justices for that reason. He chose originalist judges and justices in order to restore the federal judiciary after judges usurped their authority to effectively make law on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. Biden wants to return to that kind of judiciary.

Biden also condemned Trump for “treating the attorney general as his personal lawyer and the Department [of Justice] as his personal law firm.”

While Trump has indeed wrongly accused Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Attorney General Bill Barr of betraying him when they merely did their duty to uphold the law, the Obama-Biden administration has a particularly notorious record when it comes to treating the attorney general as the president’s personal lawyer. Eric Holder described himself as Obama’s “wingman.” He refused to testify about the “Fast and Furious” scandal, signed off on the secret monitoring of James Rosen, and decided not to prosecute the New Black Panther Party over voter intimidation during the 2008 election.

Finally, Biden suggested that law enforcement had a double standard when it comes to Black Lives Matter protests and the Capitol riots.

“Not only did we see the failure to protect one of the three branches of our government, we also saw a clear failure to carry out equal justice,” the Democrat argued. He cited his granddaughter Finnegan Biden, who sent him a picture of “military people in full military gear, scores of them, lining the steps of the Lincoln Memorial because a protest by Black Lives Matter.”


“She said, ‘Pop, this isn’t fair.'”

“No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, … they wouldn’t have been treated very differently than the mob of thugs that had stormed the Capitol,” Biden argued. “We all know that is true and it is totally unacceptable.”

The police, the National Guard, and other law enforcement should have been more aggressive in protecting the Capitol on Wednesday, but Biden’s decision to make this accusation proved his desire to score political points has overridden his promises to strive for unity and to be a president for all Americans, even those who didn’t vote for him.

Biden did not once mention the horrific riots that followed Black Lives Matter protests his summer. At least twenty-six people lost their lives in the Black Lives Matter riots, which stretched on for months, destroyed small businesses (many of them owned by black entrepreneurs), and involved outright insurrection (remember the “autonomous zone”?).

Throughout his speech on Thursday, Biden kept trying to score cheap political points after a horrific tragedy, rather than attempting to bring the country together. I long warned that he would not be a healing president or represent a “return to normalcy,” and he proved me right on Thursday.


Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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