- CLAIM: President Joe Biden told a joint session of Congress that the Capitol riot on January 6 was the “worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.”
- VERDICT: FALSE. Not only wasn’t it the worst attack on our democracy; it wasn’t even an attack on the Capitol.
- Here are several “attacks on democracy” since the Civil War that were far more severe than the Capitol riot of January 6:
- Wars: The imperial Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941,
- Assassinations: Four democratically-elected presidents have been assassinated since the Civil War — Abraham Lincoln (1865 — after the war was over), James Garfield (1881), William McKinley (1901), and John F. Kennedy (1963). Ronald Reagan survived an assassination attempt in 1981.
- Attacks on the Capitol: A Puerto Rican terrorist group opened fire during debate in the House of Representatives in 1954, wounding five members in “the most severe assault in the history of the Capitol building.” The Weather Underground exploded a bomb in the Senate in 1971; another left-wing group carried out a similar attack in 1983; and a gunman opened fire at a Capitol checkpoint in 1998, killing two Capitol Police officers. In 2017, a left-wing gunman opened fire on Republicans during a baseball practice, wounding several, including a Capitol Police officer; though the attack did not take place at the Capitol building itself, it was the most serious political violence in recent years. And earlier this month, a radical Nation of Islam follower drove into two Capitol Police, killing Officer William Evans.
- Hoaxes: Finally, several “attacks on democracy” that have included efforts to delegitimize the results of democratic elections, such as the Democrats’ false accusation that President Donald Trump won in 2016 through “Russia collusion.” That, arguably, did more to undermine democracy than the Capitol riot, which was roundly condemned by all parties