To emphasize the significance of the event, Ms. Pelosi sponsored an afternoon discussion led by Carla Hayden, the librarian of Congress, with the historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Jon Meacham, who talked about other moments of peril like the tumultuous years leading up to the Civil War. The panel was introduced with a video specially produced by the cast of “Hamilton” performing a song from the hit musical about the founding of the country.
The disparate approaches to the anniversary reflected how much Jan. 6 has become interpreted through a political lens. Democrats view the storming of the Capitol as an existential threat to constitutional democracy unlike any in modern times. Most Republicans would rather focus on anything else, with some convinced that it is being used as a partisan weapon against them and others fearful of crossing Mr. Trump, who continues to wield outsize power within the party.
Key Figures in the Jan. 6 Inquiry
Feelings remain raw on Capitol Hill, a place of post-traumatic stress that has yet to fully recover from the psychological and political scars of an assault that led to at least seven deaths as well as injuries to 150 police officers. More than the usual acrimony over legislative differences, the legacy of Jan. 6 has exacerbated the toxic rift between members and staff aides on opposite sides of the aisle.
While Mr. Biden had hesitated to engage in a back-and-forth with his predecessor, he used his 20-minute speech to more directly blame Mr. Trump than ever before for encouraging the violence a year ago and then sitting in his private White House dining room watching television and “doing nothing for hours as police were assaulted, lives were at risk, and the nation’s capital under siege.”
He offered his most extended rebuttal of the false claims that the 2020 election was somehow stolen, noting that repeated recounts, court battles and inquiries had turned up no meaningful fraud. He pointed out that Republicans did not challenge Republican victories for Congress and governor’s mansions based on the same balloting they claim was illegitimate in the presidential race.
Mr. Biden took on efforts to recast the narrative of what happened on Jan. 6, which some Republicans have dismissed as little more than a protest that got out of hand. “This wasn’t a group of tourists,” Mr. Biden said. “This was an armed insurrection. They weren’t looking to uphold the will of the people. They were looking to deny the will of the people.”
Mr. Biden also touched on voting rights legislation stalled in the Senate, although he has a separate speech on the subject scheduled for next week. Vice President Kamala D. Harris, who spoke before Mr. Biden, said, “We must pass voting rights bills that are now before the Senate.”