By Steve Holland and Trevor Hunnicutt
ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden will celebrate the “courage and patriotism” of people who fought back against the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol during a ceremony on Friday, the second anniversary of the attack, the White House said.
Friday’s event in the White House’s East Room will mark a rare moment for Biden to wade into the issues stoked by the deadly riot by supporters of his Republican predecessor Donald Trump. Their actions interrupted the certification of the Democrat’s 2020 victory.
“An important focus of his remarks will be on recognizing Americans who showed courage and patriotism, who put themselves in danger on behalf of others and on behalf of our democracy,” White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One.
“On Jan. 6, there were continued, countless examples of Americans who showed up and showed those best values of who we are and so you’ll hear from him directly. … The president wants to lift up the Americans who stood up on one of the darkest days of our democracy,” she said.
Soon to enter his third year in office, Biden has said he intends to seek another four-year term but has not formally his candidacy.
Trump, who never conceded defeat in the 2020 election, has already announced that he is seeking his party’s nomination again in 2024.
The Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives panel probing the attack last month asked federal prosecutors to charge Trump with four crimes, including obstruction and insurrection. It was the first time in history that Congress had referred a former president for criminal prosecution.
Trump, who is facing two other federal probes, has dismissed the House investigation as partisan.
The former president gave a fiery speech to his supporters on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021, and publicly chastised then Vice President Mike Pence for not going along with his scheme to reject ballots cast for Biden.
Trump then waited hours before making a public statement as thousands of his supporters raged through the Capitol, assaulting police and threatening to hang Pence.
Five people, including a police officer, died during or shortly after the incident and more than 140 police officers were injured. The Capitol suffered millions of dollars in damage.
(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Mark Porter)
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