The White House has announced that President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will deliver remarks Thursday to mark the anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot as lawmakers prepare a series of events commemorating the violence that led to the deaths of five people.
Hours before the White House announcement, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), vice chair of the House select committee investigating the riot, warned on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that the GOP “can either be loyal to our Constitution or loyal to Donald Trump, but we cannot be both.”
“Any man who would provoke a violent assault on the Capitol to stop the counting of electoral votes, any man who would watch television as police officers were being beaten, as his supporters were invading the Capitol of the United States, is clearly unfit for future office, clearly can never be anywhere near the Oval Office ever again,” Cheney told host George Stephanopoulos.
The Wyoming lawmaker has become a staunch critic of the former president, despite voting with his position nearly 93 percent of the time.
Cheney told “This Week” that Trump “crossed lines no American president has ever crossed before,” saying that “when a president refuses to tell the mob to stop, when he refuses to defend any of the coordinate branches of government, he cannot be trusted.”
The violence of Jan. 6, 2021, began after hundreds of Trump supporters marched to the Capitol from a rally where the 45th president urged then-Vice President Mike Pence to remain “loyal” and stop the congressional count of electoral votes.
Upon arriving at the Capitol, Trump supporters overwhelmed police officers and broke into the building, causing approximately $1.5 million in damage and halting the count for several hours. More than 700 have since been charged in connection to the chaos.
Trump — who has attempted to downplay the riot, insisting it was a “protest” and that the real “insurrection” took place at the Nov. 3 election — has repeatedly been criticized for not urging the rioters to stop the violence sooner.
“The committee has firsthand testimony now that [Trump] was sitting in the dining room next to the Oval Office watching the attack on television,” Cheney revealed Sunday, adding that they also have “firsthand testimony that his daughter Ivanka went in at least twice to ask him to please stop this violence.”
“He could have told them to stand down. He could have told them to go home — and he failed to do so,” she continued. “It’s hard to imagine a more significant and more serious dereliction of duty than that.”
Last month, Trump announced that he would hold a Jan. 6 news conference at his Florida club, Mar-a-Lago, to discuss the riot, the House select committee’s probe and his claims of election fraud.
Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced a separate program of events to be held at the Capitol to commemorate the riot, including a discussion by historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Jon Meacham, lawmaker testimonials about their experiences of that day and an evening prayer vigil due to take place at 5:30 p.m., a half-hour after Trump’s news conference is scheduled to begin.