Biden calls Jan. 6 riot an attempted 'coup'

President Biden calls for voting rights reform during a visit to Atlanta
President Biden calls for voting rights reform during a visit to Atlanta
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President Biden on Tuesday described the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters as an attempted "coup."

"The violent mob of January 6, 2021, empowered and encouraged by a defeated former president, sought to win through violence what he had lost at the ballot box," Biden said during a speech in Atlanta pushing for the passage of voting rights legislation. "To impose the will of the mob, to overturn free and fair election, and for the first time, the first time in American history, to stop the peaceful transfer of power. They failed, they failed, but democracy's victory was not certain nor is democracy's future."

"That's why we're here today: to stand against the forces in America that value power over principle, forces that attempted a coup, a coup against the legally expressed will of the American people by sowing doubt, inventing charges of fraud and seeking to steal the 2020 election from the people," he continued. "They want chaos to reign. We want the people to rule."

The speech came on the heels of Biden's forceful address marking the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack last week. Tuesday's speech appears to be the first instance of the president using the word "coup" to describe the attack, which he called an "armed insurrection" last week.

Others like Fiona Hill, a former Trump White House national security official who testified during his first impeachment, have similarly accused Trump and his allies of trying to stage a "coup," or a violent overthrow of government.

Biden on Tuesday argued for passing the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to counteract restrictive voting laws being imposed by GOP-controlled legislatures across the country. He endorsed changes to the legislative filibuster in order to pass the bills.

The speech was the latest instance of Biden employing fiery rhetoric to push back against Trump, who he referred to repeatedly as the "defeated former president," and his role in the Jan. 6 riot.