WASHINGTON - Former President Barack Obama and other leaders released statements on the first anniversary for the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Former President Barack Obama:
"One year ago, a violent attack on our Capitol 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.
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. 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. And those remaining Republican officials and thought leaders who have courageously stood their ground and rejected such anti-democratic efforts have been ostracized, primaried, and driven from the party.
Historically, Americans have been defenders of democracy and freedom around the world – especially when it’s under attack. But we can’t serve that role when leading figures in one of our two major political parties are actively undermining democracy at home. 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.
Our system of government has never been automatic. If we want our children to grow up in a true democracy – not just one with elections, but one where every voice matters and every vote counts – we need to nurture and protect it. Today, that responsibility falls to all of us. And on this anniversary, nothing is more important."
U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA):
"One year ago today, the world watched as a violent mob stormed and desecrated the U.S. Capitol in an effort to rob the American people of the sacred right to elect their President.
Despite these insidious efforts, democracy prevailed due to the brave actions of the Capitol Police, Metropolitan Police, Virginia State Police, Maryland State Police, and members of the National Guard who put themselves in peril, saving many lives and in some cases, losing their own. It is my hope that we will continue to honor those who lost their lives by remembering that democracy must be upheld each and every day.
We must realize that what happened on January 6 did not end on January 6. Efforts to sow doubts about the integrity of our elections are chipping away at the values upon which our nation was founded. As state legislatures across the country continue to exploit Donald Trump’s Big Lie to restrict access to the ballot, we must act to protect the right to vote and safeguard our democracy once more."
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY):
"On this first anniversary, we want to honor the staffers, officers, interns, reporters, custodians, advocates, and many others who serve at the Capitol. On January 6th, 2021, and every day since, these Americans have protected our democracy — and as we mark their dedication and sacrifice, we also know that it is far too great a burden for them to bear on their own.
The assault on our democracy did not end with the Capitol attack. In the last year, antidemocratic reforms and even fascism have infiltrated our local governments, electoral systems and civic life. Nineteen states have made it harder to vote. At least seven insurrectionists now serve in state legislatures and on city councils. To stop this ongoing attack, to protect and expand our democracy, we will all have to do our part."
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan:
"The mob may have shattered glass, but they cannot shatter our democracy.
One year after January 6th, our choice remains the same: we can face the truth, or be destroyed by lies."
U.S. Representative Jennifer Wexton (D-VA):
"On this anniversary of one of the darkest days in our country’s history, I’m thinking about the bravery of those who defended our Capitol, the people from across our region who are still grappling with the trauma they experienced on Capitol Hill that day, and the feeling of lost innocence we shared as a nation as we witnessed this horrific assault on our democracy.
"We remember those who lost their lives in the line of duty: U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, and U.S. Capitol Police Officer Howie Liebengood and D.C. Metropolitan Police Department Officer Jeffrey Smith who died by suicide in the days following the attack. Howie was a constituent who served the Capitol for over fifteen years. In partnership with the Liebengood family, who have courageously channeled their grief into advocacy, we’ve since rededicated the USCP Wellness Center in Howie’s honor and expanded mental health support and funding for USCP officers. We are also advocating for changes to line of duty designations and pushing for broader mental health services for law enforcement agencies across the country.
"It is essential that we take action to strengthen our democracy which was shaken to its core by violent insurrectionists one year ago today. That’s why, as we continue to strive for healing, we will likewise continue to press forward in our demands for truth and accountability."