Fox calls Biden's speech “divisive,” says he should focus on the positive aspects of Capitol attack

Baier: Biden is “taking advantage of the situation“

Video file

Citation From the Janurary 6, 2022 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom With Bill Hemmer & Dana Perino

DANA PERINO (FOX NEWS ANCHOR): President Biden concluding his remarks on the anniversary of the January 6 attacks. We still have Bret Baier with us and Trace Gallagher. The president spoke for just a bit over 20 minutes. That followed the vice president's remarks in which she called for the passage of the voting rights bill that hangs in the Senate. The president, though, his remarks were more pointed, and quite political, I would say. Divisive in many ways. This is how he sees it, Bret. Everyone gets a choice as to how they want to communicate, especially a President of the United States. What do you think about the approach and tone the president took today?

BRET BAIER (FOX NEWS ANCHOR): Well listen, 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. 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. After that pointed take, I find it hard to believe that we're not going to hear in some way, shape or form from former President Trump. 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. 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. However, that day was different and I think you heard in the president's speech pointing to the time between the speech that former President Trump gives and the time he comes out and makes a statement where he says he was watching TV and watching it all unfold. We just heard from Stephanie Grisham who testified to the January 6 Committee that he was watching, former President Trump was watching the television that day and seemed, in her words, happy that people were fighting for him. I think there is hugely political speech, but it was as aggressive as we've seen President Biden since taking office.

TRACE GALLAGHER (FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT): You say aggressive, Bret. I'm wondering if your sense was that he was trying to convey anger, was he trying to be resolute? He said the word truth many, many times. He said lies over and over again, and as you correctly said in the going into this speech that he would talk about President Trump, not only did he talk about the former president, it was the arc of his speech. And so I'm wondering if you think there will be some pushback by Republicans throughout the day against this considering that Kamala Harris really equated this with the attack on Pearl Harbor and 9/11. Your thoughts on that?

BAIER: Some of the linkages will be attacked by Republicans, but to be honest, Trace, there are a lot of Republicans on Capitol Hill who feel that day was horrific, and if you were in that Capitol and you saw what happened, it felt differently than if you were on the outside and how it's been talked about. I do think that the biggest image that everybody could take away from that day is the lawmakers who then came back and finished the job of 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. The question was whether this is going to be enough to change the dynamic for something like a voting rights bill or change the dynamic for Democrats. Clearly, they are going to use this and try to capitalize politically, but that was the strongest President Biden has been in a speech, very pointed.

PERINO: He mostly has avoided talking about President Trump. Rarely mentions his name since he was inaugurated as president, and this today was very different. Of course, doesn't mention him by name, but we all knew exactly who he was talking about. We can imagine if President Trump was watching, and I'm sure is seething and would probably want to give a response, and we'll see if that happens. We'll bring it to you, of course, if it does. The other thing is is that, Bret, we're talking about choices and tones that you can make when you are a president of the United States, and 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 just missed an opportunity to talk about what you just said which is that our founding fathers were brilliant. They put together a constitution that is not perfect but it has held together, and you could have shown gratitude to those lawmakers who came back to the chamber after being quite shaken I'm sure and their staff shaken up. They come back, they do the right thing and Joe Biden is inaugurated and he is president and we as a country have moved on. We got a lot of challenges that we're dealing with, but you could have talked about the strength of our system.

BAIER: I think that just like the political experts that say former President Trump should not focus on the 2020 election, I think that there are a number of people who say there was a choice here to be made whether President Biden was going to stir that emotion and stir that pot or talk about getting things done together moving forward. He tried to cross that bridge but clearly is taking advantage of the situation — but making clear we shouldn't forget what happened on January 6 and it can't be accepted what happened on the Capitol.

GALLAGHER: I'm curious, Bret, what happens next in your estimation? You've been covering this a long time. What is next? Do we go over this again and again, or is this kind of the end of it and we move on, or do you think we'll hear about this in the weeks and months ahead again and again?

BAIER: I think we're going to hear about it for a long time, and I think that the January 6 Committee is going to continue to do a number of hearings. Again, I have Liz Cheney on tonight and we'll talk about that, but they're going to do primetime hearings to try to get specifics out in the public. They are going to have an interim report in the summer and, frankly, Democrats know that come November they are likely going to lose control of the house. And if that happens the January 6 Committee is going to come to an end. So that's their deadline.