Americans ignore the lessons of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol at their own peril, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney said Thursday.

“Democracy is fragile; it cannot survive without leaders of integrity and character who care more about the strength of our Republic than about winning the next election. I said last year that the best way we can show respect for voters who are upset is by telling them the truth,” he tweeted.

“The responsibility that elected officials have in this regard is fundamental to reversing the malaise gripping our current politics and ensuring that our democracy endures.”

Romney has placed blame for the deadly insurrection squarely on former President Donald Trump, saying his injured pride and deliberate misinformation about the 2020 election stirred his supporters to action on Jan. 6.

“What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the president of the United States,” the Republican senator said on the Senate floor last year after police cleared the Capitol of rioters.

Mitt Romney to Republicans: Stop perpetuating ‘big lie’ that Biden stole election from Trump
Mitt Romney says President Trump’s ‘injured pride’ incited Capitol ‘insurrection’

After voting in the Senate trial last February to convict Trump of inciting an insurrection, Romney said the former president’s “big lie” about the 2020 election brought the United States to a “dark and dangerous place” and poisoned the nation’s politics and public discourse. The Senate acquitted Trump.

Romney said last year that it falls to everyone, including members of Congress, to affirm that President Joe Biden won the election through the legitimate vote of the American people. 

In a speech on the anniversary of the Capitol attack Thursday, Biden rebuked Trump, calling him a “defeated former president” and forcefully disputing his false claim that the election was stolen. There is “zero proof” that the results were inaccurate, Biden said.

“The former president of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election. He has done so because he values power over principle, because he sees his own interest as more important than his country’s interest, America’s interest, and because his bruised ego means more to him than our democracy and our Constitution,” Biden said. “He can’t accept he lost.”

Trump responded to the president’s speech in a statement Thursday attacking Democrats and continuing to push his falsehoods about the 2020 election.

“They’re the ones who tried to stop the peaceful transfer with a rigged election. Just look at the numbers. Does anybody really think that Biden beat Obama with the Black population in select Swing State cities, but nowhere else? That he would lose 18 out of 19 bellwether counties, and 27 out of 27 ‘toss up’ House races, but somehow miraculously receive the most votes in American history with no coattails? That he would lose Florida, Ohio, and Iowa and win, even though it has never been done before?” Trump said.

“They spread a ‘web of lies’ about me and Russia for 4 years to try to overturn the 2016 election, and now they lie about how they interfered in the 2020 Election, too.”

America, Trump said, is a “laughingstock stock of the world, and it’s all because of the real insurrection, which took place on November 3rd, but this is an election year and MAGA Republicans should get elected and work with me to fix this horror that Joe Biden and the Democrats have brought us.”

In his Thursday statement, Romney reflected on those who died on Jan. 6 and in the days that followed as well as the “heroic” efforts of the officers who protected the Capitol and those inside. Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman redirected Romney away from the mob as he fled the Senate chamber.

“It is because of their courage that Congress ultimately fulfilled its responsibility to count the votes and that the transfer of power continued unimpeded,” Romney said.

Utah GOP Rep. John Curtis also expressed his thoughts Thursday about Jan. 6 on social media.

“We need to fully understand the events of that day, so this doesn’t happen again,” he tweeted. “Our nation needs to tone down the rhetoric and start treating each other like human beings instead of adversaries.”