Blinken says US promotion of democracy has ‘been tarnished’ by Capitol siege

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that while U.S. democracy is resilient, “recent events” have caused a strain.

Blinken, whom the Senate confirmed days after President Biden’s inauguration, said the Jan. 6 Capitol siege has interfered with U.S. diplomatic efforts, although he emphasized that the country is continuing to work through the issues.

“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 Jan. 6,” Blinken said.

“On the other hand, what’s so powerful about it is that our democracy is resilient,” he told National Public Radio, noting that just hours after the insurrection, lawmakers returned to the very building the violence transpired in to vote to certify Biden’s Electoral College win. “They stood up for the institution. And even as we’re grappling with this ongoing problem, we’re doing it in a way that is transparent, that is out there for the entire world to see.”

Blinken said that while speaking with his foreign counterparts and discussing the promotion of democracy, domestic issues like the Jan. 6 Capitol siege have been raised.

“People have been pretty gentle about it. But certainly, there’s the occasional dig from someone on the other end of the line whom we are raising concerns with about something going on in their country,” he said.

The secretary of state, who said he made about 50 calls to foreign officials, added that he has reaffirmed to colleagues around the world that U.S. “democracy is strong, it’s resilient. And the very fact that we’re constantly trying to build that more perfect union is an acknowledgment of our imperfection.”

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