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Secretary of State Reveals How Deadly Capitol Riot Has ‘Tarnished’ U.S. Diplomacy


America’s ability to promote democracy around the world was unquestionably damaged by “recent events,” in particular the deadly U.S. Capitol riot carried out by a violent mob of ex-President Donald Trump’s supporters on Jan. 6, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a new interview published Tuesday.

Blinken told NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly that since becoming President Joe Biden’s top diplomat last month he’d been subjected to “pretty gentle” digs from foreign counterparts when “raising concerns with about something going on in their country.”

But Blinken hailed America for tackling the thorny issues thrown up under the presidency of  Trump out in the open “for the entire world to see,” suggesting it was a testament to the strength of its democracy.

“There is no doubt that our ability to wave the banner of democracy and human rights to some extent has been tarnished by recent events, especially the egregious attack on the Capitol on January 6,” said Blinken.

“On the other hand, what’s so powerful about it is that our democracy is resilient,” he continued. “Members of Congress came back to the buildings that had been under siege. They stood up for the Constitution. They stood up for the institution.”

Blinken said the U.S. was “grappling with this ongoing problem” in public “unlike in some other places, we’re not trying to sweep it under the rug. We’re not trying to ignore it. We’re not trying to deny it. We’re confronting it.”

“Sometimes it’s ugly, sometimes it’s painful,” he acknowledged. “But it’s also incredibly powerful. And so what I tell colleagues around the world and people that we’re already engaged with — albeit too often by telephone, instead of being able to do it in person, because of COVID — is that our democracy is strong, it’s resilient.”


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