US still under 'shadow of Capitol riot' as Biden's speech fails to address true domestic problems
Published: Jan 07, 2022 12:32 AM Updated: Jan 07, 2022 04:56 PM

US President Joe Biden on Thursday hammered hard on Donald Trump in his speech on the one-year anniversary of the January 6 attack of the US Capitol, slamming his predecessor for creating a web of lies about the election loss, but his remarks didn't reflect a consensus by the vast majority of Americans, with most Americans expecting political violence in future elections.

Chinese analysts said that the Biden administration has failed to heal the country in the past year and the wound caused by a struggle between the Democrats and Republicans continues to bleed, and US elites can no longer trumpet their political system because US democracy can't even ensure a "peaceful power transition," much less effectively solving the problems of the people.

"For the first time in our history, a president had not just lost an election. He tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob reached the Capitol," Biden said in a speech from the US Capitol, CNN reported. 

 "The former president of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election," Biden said.

"He has done so because he values power over principle, because he sees his own interests as more important than his country's interests. Because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our constitution," Biden added. 

Diao Daming, an associate professor and expert on US politics at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times that the Biden administration is still using the Capitol riot as a tool to serve its political struggle with the Republicans, as it uses harsh words to simply blame Trump for everything, without an in-depth review over the fundamental problem that caused the mistrust and divergence between the two parties and their supporters.

The January 6 committee investigating the case targets Trump to help the Democrats' election campaign in 2022 and 2024, so there is no effective review or reform, only more political struggles, Diao said. 

"There is no rethinking about the systemic problem of US democracy," said Lü Xiang, a research fellow and expert on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Biden accused Trump and his supporters with harsh words throughout his speech and stressed Trump is not just a former president but a "defeated former president" and he called the Trump supporters who stormed Capitol Hill "armed insurrection."

"This sounds like Biden is not very confident and he's still worried the election result one year ago is not convincing enough or he and his party will lose again, so he needs to strengthen the accusation and criticism against Trump and Trump's supporters. But actually these similar words had been already said one year ago," Lü said. 

And he only stuck to the incident that happened a year ago but almost mentioned nothing about the most urgent challenge, like the endless political struggles between the two parties and surging COVID-19 cases, as well as the economic problem, that are truly threatening US democracy and Americans' lives and interests, said Lü, adding that "I hear no solution about the current problems in his speech." 

Biden also mentioned China and Russia in his speech as he said these two countries "are betting that democracy's days are numbered."

"They've actually told me democracy is too slow, too bogged down by division to succeed in today's rapidly changing complicated world. And they're ... betting America will become more like them (China and Russia) and less like us (the US)," Biden said.

Lü told the Global Times that "this is truly senseless. China has never lectured the US like the US is lecturing others about what political system is better. We just urge the US to be less arrogant and correct its mistakes instead of using democracy as a pretext to interfere in others' internal affairs and force others to implement US-style democracy worldwide which caused chaos, conflicts and bloodshed."

But it seems like Biden is trying to use China and Russia, the two major "adversaries" in the eyes of US politicians, to strengthen his points in criticizing Trump and beautify his leadership and idea. But this makes him sound even more senseless, the expert noted.

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.  Photo: AFP

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Photo: AFP

Trump announced on Tuesday that he is canceling a news conference in Florida that was set to be held on the day of the one-year anniversary of the Capitol riot, but he will discuss "many of those important topics" at a rally on January 15 in Arizona. According to the former president's website, he is scheduled to hold a rally in Florence on that day at the Country Thunder Festival Grounds, Fox News reported.

"In light of the total bias and dishonesty of the January 6th Unselect Committee of Democrats, two failed Republicans, and the Fake News Media, I am canceling the January 6th Press Conference at Mar-a-Lago on Thursday," Trump wrote.

The influence of Trump or "Trumpism" has not been weakened at all even if mainstream media outlets or social media platforms stand with the establishment, and ban Trump from using them to speak to Americans, and experts said Trump's supporters or fans are very solid and loyal as he doesn't need Twitter anymore to mobilize his supporters. And by isolating or investigating Trump, the Democrats have failed to undermine Trump's influence.

Trump is also popular among some Chinese web users as they said Trump could make news about the US more interesting and entertaining, and they expect Trump to return in 2024 as they found Biden a "weak leader" with no charm. 

Diao noted that "one year later, Biden can't even reach a consensus with Republicans or Trump's supporters on defining the Capitol incident." 

This is the end for US elites to trumpet their democratic political system. We know public demand is a basic factor for democracy, and the US political system today can't even realize a peaceful power transition, not to mention responding to Americans' demands, Diao noted. 

Most Americans are concerned about their political system today, according to multiple polls conducted by US institutes and media. According to the CBS poll, 68 percent of respondents consider the Capitol riot a sign of increasing political violence.

Thirty-four percent of Americans think violent action against the government is sometimes justified, according to a poll from The Washington Post and the University of Maryland.

Diao said political violence will be normalized in the US, with evidence like the Black Lives Matter movement that caused unrest across the country. "It's a trend that the political struggle between the two parties or different political groups in the US will not just stay in Congress or on TV. It will spread to the squares, streets and any possible place in America," Diao noted.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at Thursday's routine press conference that the Capitol riot shocked the world, and he quoted data, including a poll published by the Harvard Kennedy School on December 1, 2021.  

"Only 7 percent view the United States as a "healthy democracy," and 52 percent believe that democracy is either "in trouble" or "failing." This concern is echoed in a poll that showed that 35 percent of respondents anticipate a second civil war during their lifetime, and 25 percent believe that at least one state will secede," the poll said.

Wang said these data show that Americans and the international community have shared concerns and strong doubts about US democracy. What the US needs to do is to set aside its pride and prejudice, redress the wrong act of forcing American democracy onto other countries , and stop using democracy as a pretext to create conflicts worldwide.

"The two major parties of the US are trying to use 'Sinophobia' to keep them united. But they can't achieve the goal because China has nothing to do with their differences on domestic issues. But unfortunately, the more struggles between the two parties, the more hostile US politicians would be toward China," Diao noted. 

They need to blame China to cover their misconduct and incompetence, to make Americans believe that the problems they have at the moment are not their fault. They should blame another party and China. "That's how they play the game. So China-US ties are unlikely to return on track in the short term," Diao said.

A country divided: The US pays heavily for partisan polarization after the Capitol riot Graphic: Feng Qingyin/GT

A country divided: The US pays heavily for partisan polarization after the Capitol riot Graphic: Feng Qingyin/GT