Utah Sens. Mike Lee, Mitt Romney respond to President Biden’s Valley Forge speech

President Joe Biden speaks in Blue Bell, Pa., on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024.
President Joe Biden speaks in Blue Bell, Pa., on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024. | Matt Rourke, Associated Press
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In President Joe Biden’s first campaign speech of 2024, he spoke about the Jan. 6, 2021, riots and former President Donald Trump’s involvement, contrasting Trump with President George Washington.

Speaking from Valley Forge in Pennsylvania, Biden referenced the Continental Army’s patriotism and called democracy a “sacred cause.”

He contrasted this with Jan. 6, which President Biden described as the day “we nearly lost America.” The President then asked the question, “Is democracy still America’s sacred cause?” and added this is what he believes “the 2024 election is all about.”

President Biden calls Jan. 6 an ‘insurrection’

Biden described Jan. 6, 2021, as the first time in American history that “insurrectionists had come to stop the peaceful transfer of power in America.”

He painted the scene as protesters “smashing windows, shattering doors (and) attacking the police.” He added, “Outside, gallows were erected as the MAGA crowd chanted, ‘Hang Mike Pence.’”

The president described what he believed happened inside the Capitol. “They hunted for Speaker Pelosi,” Biden said. “The House was chanting as they marched through and smashed windows, ‘Where’s Nancy?’”

The president added that he and the first lady “attended the funeral of police officers who died as a result of the events of that day.”

In Biden’s 2022 speech about Jan. 6, he also referenced attending the funerals of capitol officers Brian Sicknick and Billy Evans who died on Jan. 7 and April 2, 2021 respectively.

Lee and Romney respond to Biden’s speech

On Jan. 5, President Biden quoted a section of his speech in an X post. He wrote, “You can’t be pro-insurrection and pro-America.”

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, responded, “You can’t call thousands of people insurrectionists when not one of them has even been charged with — much less convicted of — that crime. Not. Even. One.”

In another social media post, he said, “Biden loves democracy so much he’s willing to prosecute and seek to disqualify his principal opponent.”

Sen. Mitt Romney also panned Biden’s speech, although for difference reasons.

“As a Biden campaign theme, I think the threat to democracy pitch is a bust,” Romney said to The New York Times. “Jan. 6 will be four years old by the election. People have processed it, one way or another. Biden needs fresh material, a new attack, rather than kicking a dead political horse.”