Fox News anchors Dana Perino and Bret Baier took aim at President Joe Biden on Thursday over the tone of his speech condemning the Jan. 6 insurrection, calling the president’s remarks “aggressive” and “political.” Additionally, Perino griped that the president didn’t show enough “gratitude” that his 2020 election win was eventually certified.
Delivering a passionate 25-minute address to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Capitol riot, Biden blasted former President Donald Trump without once mentioning his predecessor by name. Repeatedly referring to the ex-president as “defeated” and “failed,” Biden noted that Trump “can’t accept he lost” while excoriating him for inciting the failed coup attempt.
“What did we not see?!” Biden angrily exclaimed at one point. “We didn’t see a former president who had just rallied the mob to attack, sitting in the private dining room off the Oval Office in the White House watching it all on television and doing nothing for hours as police were assaulted, lives at risk, the nation’s Capitol under siege.”
Immediately reacting to the speech, Perino lamented that the president’s remarks were “quite political” and “divisive in many ways,” adding that “everyone has a choice on how they want to communicate.” She then turned to Baier, the network’s chief political anchor, for his main takeaways.
“It was as forceful, aggressive, pointed—specifically at the former president—as we’ve seen in a speech from President Biden since taking office January 20 of last year,” Baier said. “Saying that former President Trump values power versus principle. Talking about his bruised ego, about the situation with the election, and all that he said about it. That he refused to accept the results of the election and the will of the American people.”
Stating that he finds “it hard to believe” that Trump won’t respond in kind to Biden’s speech, Baier went on to detail the arguments Trump’s allies will make against the Biden’s Jan. 6 address.
“Now, his supporters, the Trump supporters will say that the president in that speech that day said you should march peacefully and patriotically to the Capitol to make your voices heard,” the veteran newsman declared. “They will say that he spoke out against political violence and they will point to Democrats who didn’t step up to speak out about political violence around BLM protests that turned into riots and raids around the country during that time.”
At the same time, Baier said “that day was different” before bringing up the fact that former Trump spokesperson Stephanie Grisham recently claimed Trump was happily watching the riot unfold on television in his private dining room—a point Biden made in his speech.
“I think this is a hugely political speech but it was as aggressive as we’ve seen President Biden since taking office,” Baier added.
After saying Republicans will likely attack Vice President Kamala Harris for comparing Jan. 6 to Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 terror attack, Baier then said “the biggest image that everybody could take away from that day” is lawmakers coming back to the Capitol and certifying the election.
“And this whole thing about democracy hanging in the balance, I think that proved that the country was going to move forward,” he continued.
Perino, meanwhile, would take those observations by Baier and run with them.
“The other thing is, Bret, we’re talking about choices and tones that you can make when you are a president of the United States,” she said. “If your instinct is to escalate rather than de-escalate attention and division, then that’s one way to go about it. And in some ways to me what I thought today is the president missed an opportunity to talk about what you just said, which is that our founding fathers were brilliant.”
The former George W. Bush spokesperson then said that Biden “could have shown gratitude to those lawmakers who came back to the chamber after being quite shaken” and went about certifying the electoral results.
“They come back, do the right thing and Joe Biden is inaugurated and he is president, and we as a country have moved on,” Perino added. “We have a lot of challenges that we’re dealing with but you could have talked about the strength of our system and right now.”
She concluded: “It is very interesting there is an opportunity for the president and Democrats to take the Republicans up on an offer. Mitch McConnell brought this up. It would be to clarify the language in the Electoral Count Act which isn’t perfect and leads to a little speculation. If they were to allow that clarification that Republicans are suggesting, that actually would help prevent a future president from ever trying to do something like that again.”