Biden assails Trump in speech marking anniversary of Capitol riot

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President Joe Biden tore into former president Donald Trump in a speech marking the first anniversary of the January 6 attack on the US Capitol (AFP/POOL)

President Joe Biden tore into Donald Trump Thursday on the first anniversary of the Capitol insurrection, calling him a selfish liar who could not accept defeat and vowing to defend America's democracy.

In a powerful speech at Congress's Statuary Hall, one of the very spots where a pro-Trump mob ran amok a year ago, Biden took off the gloves after a year of largely ignoring Trump.

"The former president of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election," Biden said, alluding to Trump's repeated false claim that the election was stolen from him through fraud -- an assertion that many Republicans still embrace.

"He's done so because he values power over principle, because he sees his own interest as more important than his country's interest," Biden said.

Biden said the United States and much of the world is locked in a battle between democracy and autocracy.

"I will allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of democracy," Biden said at the Capitol. "I will stand in this breach. I will defend this nation."

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