Biden used his prime-time speech at Independence Hall in Philadelphia to argue that Trump and the “Make America Great Again” allies who now lead the Republican Party are a menace to the nation’s system of government, its standing abroad and its citizens’ way of life.
President Joe Biden warned Thursday night that “equality and democracy are under assault” in the U.S, saying that Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans “represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our Republic”.
Aiming to reframe the November elections as part of a battle for the nation’s soul — “the work of my presidency” — Biden used his prime-time speech at Independence Hall in Philadelphia to argue that Trump and the “Make America Great Again” allies who now lead the Republican Party are a menace to the nation’s system of government, its standing abroad and its citizens’ way of life.
“Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our Republic,” Biden declared. He said they “are determined to take this country backward,’ they “promote authoritarian leaders and they fan the flames of political violence.”
The explicit effort by Biden to marginalize Trump and his adherents marks a sharp turn for the president, who preached his desire to bring about national unity in his Inaugural address. White House officials said it reflects his mounting concern about Trump allies’ ideological proposals and relentless denial of the nation’s 2020 election results.
“MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards,” Biden said. “Backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love.”
“Now, America must choose to move forward or to move backwards,” he said, appealing for citizens to “vote, vote, vote” to protect their democracy. “For a long time, we’ve reassured ourselves that American democracy is guaranteed. But it is not.”
Biden, who largely avoided even referring to “the former guy” by name during his first year in office, has grown increasingly vocal in calling out Trump personally. Now, emboldened by his party’s recent legislative wins and wary of Trump’s return to the headlines, Biden is sharpening his attacks, last week likening the “MAGA philosophy” to “semi-fascism.”
Trump plans a rally this weekend in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Biden’s birthplace.
In Philadelphia, Biden harked back to the 2017 white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, which he said brought him out of political retirement to challenge Trump. Biden argued that the country faces a similar crossroads in the coming months, and he cast defending the nation’s values as “the work of my presidency — a mission I believe in with my whole soul.”
Raising his voice over pro-Trump hecklers outside the building where the nation’s founding was debated, Biden said he wasn’t condemning the 74 million people who voted for Trump in 2020.
“Not every Republican, not even a majority of Republicans, are MAGA Republicans,” Biden said. “But there’s no question that the Republican Party today is dominated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans.”
Biden’s appearance was promoted as an official, taxpayer-funded event, a mark of how the president views defeating the Trump agenda as much as a policy aim as a political one. Red and blue lights illuminated the brick of Independence Hall, as the Marine Band played “Hail to the Chief” and a pair of Marine sentries stood at parade rest in the backdrop. Still, the major broadcast television networks did not carry the address live.
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