Former U.S. President Donald Trump was raked Thursday for doubling down on his "Big Lie" that the 2020 presidential election was "stolen" in a series of spurious statements responding to President Joe Biden's address marking the one-year anniversary of the deadly January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
"Attempting to overturn the election results and stop our country's sacred tradition of a peaceful transition of power is divisive. Demanding accountability is not."
During his speech, Biden said that "we must be absolutely clear about what is true and what is a lie. And here's the truth: The former president of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election."
Trump responded by releasing four statements, one of them calling Biden's speech an attempt to use his name—which the president never uttered—"to try to further divide America."
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) retorted on Twitter that "attempting to overturn the election results and stop our country's sacred tradition of a peaceful transition of power is divisive. Demanding accountability is not."
In response to the former president's statements, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted, "Donald Trump did it again—lying about the election."
"It was Donald Trump's Big Lie that soaked our political landscape in kerosene," he wrote. "We must confront this Big Lie. We will move forward to protect democracy and voting rights."
Speaking in Congress, Schumer said:
For mob violence to win the day it doesn't need everyone to join in, it just needs a critical mass of people to stay out of the way, to ignore it, to underestimate it, to excuse it, and even condone it. The mob can start out as a small number, but if it's allowed to grow and leaders egg on the mob, encourage it, it can become poison.
"That is what Donald Trump is doing," Schumer added, "as even his response to President Biden's speech today shows. And once that happens, the unthinkable can become real. Democracy arose, and could—God forbid... vanish."
Trump packed as many as half a dozen lies into one single sentence-long statement: "Due to inept leadership that gave us open borders, Covid incompetence, loss of energy independence, a military in chaos, rampant inflation, corrupt elections, and lack of world standing, our nation, perhaps for the first time, has lost its confidence!"
"He can't accept he lost, even though that’s what 93 United States senators, his own attorney general, his own vice president, governors, and state officials in every battleground state have all said: He lost" Joe Biden stated.
There are no "open borders." In fact, Biden has continued some of Trump's most controversial immigration policies, including jailing large numbers of children in makeshift detention facilities, the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols, or "remain in Mexico," and Title 42 deportations.
There is no "loss of energy independence." In fact, the Biden administration has approved new fossil fuel drilling leases at a faster rate than either the Trump or Obama administrations. Among these is the largest-ever sale of drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico. The current administration has also gone to court to defend a major Trump-era drilling project in Alaska.
There is no "military in chaos." In fact, the United States retains the world's most powerful armed forces by far, and Biden recently signed off on a $778 National Defense Authorization Act that is $38 billion bigger than the last NDAA signed by Trump.
There was no "corrupt election." In fact, Trump's own administration called the 2020 presidential contest "the most secure in American history." Trump filed more than 60 lawsuits challenging the results of last year's presidential election. He lost all but one of them.
There has been no loss of "world standing." In fact, according to a June 2021 Pew Research survey of 16 nations, global confidence that the U.S. president will "do the right thing regarding world affairs" skyrocketed from 17% under Trump to 75% under Biden—a more than 400% increase—while U.S. favorability soared from 34% to 62% after Trump left office.
And while the assertion that the nation may have "lost its confidence" for the first time is difficult to quantify, times within living memory such as the post-Watergate, post-Vietnam, fuel crisis and inflation-addled 1970s—to say nothing of historical events like the Civil War—suggest Trump was speaking falsely again.
"The former president of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies... because he values power over principle, because he sees his own interests as more important than his country's... and America's interests, and because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our constitution," Biden said during his speech.
"He can't accept he lost," the president added, "even though that's what 93 United States senators, his own attorney general, his own vice president, governors, and state officials in every battleground state have all said: He lost."