WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Maryland’s senior senator, offered the following remarks on the two-year anniversary of the violent breach of the U.S. Capitol.
“America has been a beacon of hope and democracy throughout our history. But two years ago, on January 6, 2021, our historic streak of peacefully transferring power from one chief executive to the next was broken. The violent insurrection and invasion of the U.S. Capitol that transpired – the first mass breach of the Capitol since the British invasion during War of 1812 – was the culmination of a deliberate and premeditated campaign to undermine and overturn legitimate election results and the will of the American people. An angry mob, stirred up for months by former president Trump and incited again that very morning, pushed past security barriers, beat police officers with flag poles, sprayed them with bear repellant, and chased them through corridors. This was far from ‘legitimate political discourse.’
“Democracy is fragile, but it is resilient. The mob did not win the day thanks to the heroism of officers of the Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department, congressional staffers and others on the scene. Sadly, lives were lost and many survivors bear physical, mental and emotional scars to this day. But many more lives were saved, and the rule of law prevailed. I join in honoring the memory of the police officers who lost their lives on that violent day and shortly afterwards. While much of it was captured on camera, we will never fully know the abuse they endured. On this day, we also honor the election workers who upheld the law and ensured a free and fair election across every state. I also thank the dedication and determination of the bipartisan January 6th Committee for its detailed investigation and report, creating a public historical record of the fateful events, as well as recommendations and next steps to prevent another such disaster. And thanks go to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department for its ongoing investigation and successful prosecutions against those who sought to delegitimize our rightful elected officials.
“Instead of giving into fear and losing focus, many of us in Congress channeled our energy into sealing any perceived ‘crack’ in our legal system that emboldened the bad actors. As a member of a bipartisan working group, I was deeply involved in developing legislation that modernized the Electoral Count Reform of 1887 Act. Approved in December as part of the Omnibus Appropriations Act for FY23, we made it easier for Congress to identify a single, conclusive slate of presidential electors for each state, reduced the likelihood of frivolous objections against electors and reiterated the purely ceremonial role the vice president has in this process.
“Democracy is resilient, but it takes all of us to keep it strong and functioning. Remarkably, after being debunked over and over, the conspiracy theories and lies continue. Hate speech and extremism have taken root, including among some members of the U.S. Congress. So we must continue to stand united to defend our nation from all enemies foreign and domestic. We will continue to uphold civil rights while also protecting our national security and the rule of law. We must strengthen our election infrastructure and enhance voting rights for all Americans. ‘We the People’ will keep this nation strong and free on January 6 and every day.”