US President Joe Biden has said that the Senate's acquittal of his predecessor Donald Trump for inciting a mob to storm the Capitol on January 6 was a reminder that democracy was "fragile" and every American had a duty to defend the truth.
While the final vote did not lead to the conviction of Trump, the substance of the charge is not in dispute, Biden said on Saturday in his first reaction, hours after the US Senate acquitted the former president on a charge of inciting the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol.
The 100-member Senate voted to impeach Trump by 57-43 votes, 10 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed for conviction.
“This sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile. That it must always be defended. That we must be ever vigilant. That violence and extremism have no place in America. And that each of us has a duty and responsibility as Americans, and especially as leaders, to defend the truth and to defeat the lies,” Biden, a Democrat, said in a late-night statement.
Biden said that 57 Senators – including a record seven Republicans – voted to find former President Trump guilty for inciting that deadly insurrection on American democracy.
Trump, a Republican, was accused of inciting riots in the US Capitol on January 6 which left five people, including a police officer, dead.
“The Senate vote followed the bipartisan vote to impeach him by the House of Representatives. While the final vote did not lead to a conviction, the substance of the charge is not in dispute,” he said.
“Even those opposed to the conviction, like Senate Minority Leader McConnell, believe Donald Trump was guilty of a “disgraceful dereliction of duty” and “practically and morally responsible for provoking” the violence unleashed on the Capitol,” Biden said.
Biden is spending his first Valentine Day weekend with the First Lady at the picturesque presidential retreat of Camp David in Maryland.
“Tonight, I am thinking about those who bravely stood guard that January day. I’m thinking about all those who lost their lives, all those whose lives were threatened, and all those who are still today living with terror they lived through that day,” he said.
“And I’m thinking of those who demonstrated the courage to protect the integrity of our democracy – Democrats and Republicans, election officials and judges, elected representatives and poll workers – before and after the election,” Biden said.