Right-wing erupts after Biden declares Jan. 6 “worst attack on democracy since Civil War"

One right-wing website angrily "fact-checked" the claim as "false"

By Zachary Petrizzo
Published April 29, 2021 3:26AM (UTC)
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Trump supporters near the U.S Capitol on Jan. 06, 2021 in Washington, DC.

President Joe Biden declared Wednesday night that the U.S. Capitol siege by a mob of Trump supporters on Jan. 6 was "the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War," a claim that angered many right-wing and pro-Trump pundits online.

Biden made the statement during his first address in front of a joint session of Congress, noting in his speech the numerous crises facing America as he wraps up his first 100 days in office. 

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"While the setting tonight is familiar, this gathering is very different – a reminder of the extraordinary times we are in," Biden said, from the same chamber that a pro-Trump mob breached just three months ago.

"As I stand here tonight — just one day shy of the 100th day of my administration. 100 days since I took the oath of office, lifted my hand off our family Bible, and inherited a nation in crisis," Biden continued.

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"The worst pandemic in a century. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War. Now, after just 100 days, I can report to the nation: America is on the move again. Turning peril into possibility. Crisis into opportunity. Set back into strength. Life can knock us down. But in America, we never stay down. In America, we always get up. And today, that's what we're doing: America is rising anew. Choosing hope over fear. Truth over lies. Light over darkness."

The "civil war" comment in particular sparked anger among right-wing pundits and Trump allies, who were quick to point out various foreign attacks that have taken place on American soil. 

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"Biden says the January 6 protest was the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War. Surprisingly, the room did not break into uncontrolled laughter at this ridiculous claim," pro-Trump pundit Dinesh D'Souza tweeted, along with a video where he calls the Jan. 6 ransacking of the Capitol a "walk-through." 

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Right-wing radio host Eric Metaxas responded, "FACT: The "worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War" was when Democrats STOLE AN ELECTION from #WeThePeople--and then dared to pretend WE were the threat to democracy. Shame on them. They will not get away with this. Many are praying. God sees."

Trump campaign flack Steve Cortes added: "So...Pearl Harbor, presidential assassinations, 9-11...all less threatening to our democracy than a bunch of unarmed fur hat hooligans?" 

Daily Wire founder and conservative pundit Ben Shapiro snarked, "He should know better than this, considering he's old enough to remember all the intervening events since the Civil War."

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"Worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War? Not 9/11? Not Pearl Harbor???" disgraced Trump spokesperson Jason Miller tweeted

The far-right website Breitbart "fact-checked" the claim as "false." "Not only wasn't it the worst attack on our democracy; it wasn't even the worst attack on the Capitol," the site opined.

One other noteworthy right-wing reaction to Biden's evening address came from American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp, who proudly tweeted about having lead pipes in his home after Biden called for lead pipe replacement:

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"I have lead pipes in my 100-year-old house. Some are impossible to take out. Joe Biden is going to replace them? Cool," Schlapp stated, which was quickly blasted by Twitter users who pointed out his attempt to "own the libs" had backfired.


Zachary Petrizzo

Zachary Petrizzo is a staff writer at Salon. He previously covered politics at Mediaite and The Daily Dot. Follow him on Twitter @ZTPetrizzo. Send him tips: zpetrizzo@salon.com

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Capitol Riot Civil War Clip January 6 Joe Biden Media Right-wing Sotu State Of The Union