On the first anniversary of the riot at the U.S. Capitol building, Vice President Kamala Harris delivered a speech comparing the events of Jan. 6 to the bombing of Pearl Harbor that catapulted the United States into World War II and the world-altering terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001.
"Certain dates echo throughout history, including dates that instantly remind all who have lived through them where they were, and what they were doing, when our democracy came under assault," Harris began her address at Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol on Thursday morning.
Harris then recalled dark dates in American history, "Dates that occupy not only a place on our calendars, but a place in our collective memory: Dec. 7, 1941, Sept. 11, 2001, and Jan. 6, 2021."
Harris said the for "extremists who roamed these halls," what they were out to "degrade and destroy was not only a building" but they were also assaulting "the institutions, the values, the ideals that generations of Americans have marched, picketed, and shed blood to establish and defend."
Harris claimed that the riot exposed "the fragility of democracy" in the United States because of "the very fact of how close we came to an election overturned."
"The fragility of our democracy is this: If we are not vigilant, if we do not defend it, democracy simply will not stand. It will falter, and it will fail," Harris said.
"On January 6th, we all saw what our nation would look like if the forces who seek to dismantle our democracy are successful," she continued. "The lawlessness, the violence, the chaos. What was at stake then, and now, is the right to have our future decided the way the Constitution prescribes it: by we, the people — all the people."
Harris applauded her fellow politicians for certifying the presidential election the night of "the violent assault" that interrupted Congress.
"Yet, the resolve I saw in our elected leaders when I returned to the Senate chamber that night — their resolve not to yield, but to certify the election, their loyalty, not to party or person, but to the Constitution of the United States — that reflects its strength," she said.
Numerous online commentators found the comparison of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot to the deadly attacks on Pearl Harbor and on Sept. 11 to be completely outrageous and downright offensive.
Director of communications for Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) Harrison Fields: "As the son of a 9/11 first responder & survivor, & as someone who experienced the tragedy of 1/06, I can tell you unequivocally—1/06 was NOT & will NEVER be comparable to 9/11. To hear the @VP compare the 6th to 9/11 is a slap in the face to 9/11 survivors & heroes like my mom."
Writer Josh Jordan: "Putting January 6th in the same category of Pearl Harbor and 9/11 is ridiculous. What happened a year ago was terrible, but let's not compare it to two events that killed thousands of Americans and led to wars around the world."
Author Matthew Betley: "I don’t take anything the stupendously incompetent @VP says, but comparing January 6 to Pearl Harbor is as outrageous and offensive as it gets, especially to World War II veterans who know what a real attack looks like. Shame on #KamalaHarris."
Outkick founder Clay Travis: "Kamala Harris said January 6th is the equivalent of Pearl Harbor and 9/11. Honest question, does anyone actually believe this, even the most idoitic left winger on the planet? This is one of the dumbest historical analogies I have ever seen."
Digital strategist Greg Price: "When a two-hour riot happened at the Capitol, Kamala Harris compared it to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor. When neighborhoods in Minneapolis were burned to the ground, Kamala Harris helped raise bail money for the people who did it."
Conservative commentator John Cardillo: "9/11: 2977 innocents dead Pearl Harbor: 2403 Americans dead Jan 6th: One death. Unarmed Ashli Babbitt killed by an inept Capitol cop, @KamalaHarris’s comparison is disgraceful and insults the memories of those we lost."
The Pearl Harbor attack took place when a Japanese strike force consisting of more than 420 aircraft launched a surprise offensive on the U.S. military stationed at the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii. Within an hour and 15 minutes, 2,403 U.S. military personnel were killed in the attack and another 1,178 were wounded. Six U.S. ships were sunk or destroyed, plus another 16 damaged. There were 169 U.S. Navy and Army Air Corps planes that were obliterated and another 159 damaged.
The death toll of the 9/11 attacks is 2,974 people – the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil in U.S. history. Since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, 7,052 U.S. military members and 8,189 U.S. contractors were "killed directly in the violence of the U.S. post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere," according to a study by Brown University’s Costs of War project and the Center for International Policy. The Pentagon has spent $14 trillion since 9/11. The World Trade Center Health Program – a federal health program administered by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health that provides medical monitoring and treatment of World Trade Center-related health conditions for 9/11 responders and survivors – found that 25% of 9/11 first responders ages 55-64 have at least one kind of cancer and 33% of the same age bracket of 9/11 first responders suffer from aerodigestive illness (conditions or diseases that affect the airways and upper digestive tract).
White House press secretary Jen Psaki went into damage control when asked about the vice president's controversial comparison.
"If we look back to some very difficult moments of our history, back in 1861, there were no Confederate flags being waved in the Capitol," Psaki said during Thursday's press conference. "In very dark moments in our history, there were not people storming our nation's Capitol trying to take over the office and even threaten the speaker of the House."
Psaki then advised that anyone criticizing Kamala Harris for making comparisons to major historical events stop making comparisons to major historical events, despite attempting to defend the vice president for doing just that.
"Instead of focusing on or analyzing comparisons of moments in history, I would suggest they be a part of solving the threats of democracy that occurs today," Psaki said.