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President Joe Biden declared Donald Trump a “threat to the country” in a speech that contained his harshest rhetoric yet about his predecessor in the Oval Office and the MAGA movement.
“Equality and democracy are under attack. We’re not doing ourselves any favors to argue otherwise,” Biden said at the top of his remarks before Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.
He called Trump by name, rebuked the former president for his false claim that the 2020 election was stolen, and berated those who support Trump.
“Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represented extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic,” Biden said, amid applause from his supporters.
He made it clear that he doesn’t think every Republican is “extreme” or a threat, but said “there is no doubt that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans.”
“And that’s a threat to this country,” he said.
He denounced them for refusing to accept his presidency.
“MAGA Republicans don’t respect the Constitution. They did not believe in the rule of law. They did not recognize the will of the people,” he said. “They refused to accept the result of a free election.”
“You can’t just love your country if you win,” Biden said.
And he vowed to defend democracy.
“I will not stand by that the will of the American people is not overthrown by wild conspiracy theories and baseless evidence to deal with claims of fraud. I will not stand by as elections in this country are stolen by people who simply refused to accept that they lost,” he said.
“As your president, I will defend our democracy with every fiber of my being and ask every American to join me.”
President Joe Bideen used his speech to directly target the Republican Party and, in particular, the supporters of former President Donald Trump (above)
First lady Jill Biden accompanied President Joe Biden to Philadelphia for his speech
Naomi Biden and her fiancé Peter Neal, who are getting married at the White House in November, flew with the president and first lady to Philadelphia for President Biden’s speech
First lady Jill Biden hugs a greeter as President Joe Biden talks to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf after arriving at Philadelphia International Airport
“It’s not a political speech,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said of President Joe Biden’s speech.
Biden used historical background to make his point: He spoke outside Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, the place where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were discussed and adopted by America’s founding fathers.
Meanwhile, Trump remains a force to be reckoned with in the Republican Party, which exerts his influence in primaries across the country, where his MAGA supporters can make or break a candidate.
Trump’s record in those races is mixed – he took out his main target, Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, down in her August primary, but other Republicans who voted for his impeachment have advanced to primary wins.
And now there are rumblings of concerns from some in the GOP leadership, who fear the federal inquiry into whether Trump took secret White House documents will affect them at the November ballot.
But Trump still has his supporters. The former president will be in Pennsylvania on Saturday, holding a campaign rally for the state’s senate and governor candidates in Wilkes-Barre.
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy warned voters ahead of Biden’s comments and issued his words of caution from Biden’s hometown of Scranton.
“Winter is coming,” were McCarthy’s ominous words.
“Families can barely make ends meet,” he said. ‘Electricity and energy costs – they consume the household budget. Citizens are forced to make painful choices every day in order to pay the bills.’
“You know that more than 20 million American households—that’s about one in six families—have fallen behind on energy bills,” McCarthy added.
Voters have cited the high price of food and gas as one of their top concerns. Inflation, which hit record highs earlier this year, is starting to ease. Gas prices have also fallen in recent weeks, fueling Democratic hopes that voters won’t take their anger and frustration out on them at the polls.
Democratic hopes for the midterms are growing. a new Wall Street Journal poll on Thursday showed the party has made gains among independent voters and Americans have a better picture of President Biden, who has seen his approval rating rise in recent weeks.
Biden has targeted Trump supporters as he campaigns for Democrats.
The president accused Trump and “extreme” Republicans of “semi-fascism” during a fundraising campaign for Democrats in August.
“What we’re seeing now is the beginning or the death knell of an extreme MAGA philosophy,” Biden told about 100 wealthy donors. “It’s not just Trump, it’s the whole philosophy that underlies — I’m going to say something — it’s like semi-fascism.”
Biden said Trump and MAGA Republicans were “destroying America.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy gave a foreword to Joe Biden’s address to the nation on Thursday — visiting the president’s hometown, Scranton, to do so
Biden has said he was forced to run for president after the Unite the Right rally at Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, which sparked a clash between far-right protesters and counter-protesters.
President Joe Biden has condemned the January 6 Uprising at the Capitol, where Trump supporters tried to stop the certification of the 2020 election; on the first anniversary of the riots, Biden said the country is in a battle for its soul
Biden kicked off his 2020 presidential campaign in Philadelphia in a speech in May 2019.
And he has said he was forced to run for president after the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a clash between white supremacists and counterprotesters left three dead and dozens injured.
He has maintained his ‘soul of democracy’ argument throughout the last campaign and into his early years in the presidency.
On the first anniversary of the January 6 Uprising at the Capitol, Biden said the country was in a battle for its soul.
“I have said it many times and it is no more true or true than when we think of the events of January 6: We are in a battle for the soul of America. A battle that, by the grace of God and the goodness and courtesy – and the greatness of this nation, we will win,” Biden said in a capitol statement.
President Biden spoke outside Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, the place where the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were discussed and adopted by America’s founding fathers
Joe Biden, along with Jill Biden, kicked off his 2020 presidential campaign at a May 2019 rally in Philadelphia
Thursday night’s speech in Philadelphia marked Biden’s third stop in the battlefield state of Pennsylvania in the span of a week.
Biden was in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday to talk about supporting law enforcement.
And Monday, the president will campaign with Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman at the Pittsburgh Labor Day parade.