President Joe Biden warned Americans on Thursday that democracy is under attack from former President Donald Trump and his “MAGA Republican” supporters, who he said are posing unprecedented threats to America’s ability to remain a democratic republic.
“Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic,” Biden said during a rare 24-minute prime-time speech delivered from Philadelphia.
The address was unusually personal for Biden, who rarely refers to Trump by name, instead often referring to “the old guy.” It marked a newly aggressive style by Biden, who in recent weeks has called out Trump supporters and the former president himself in clear and combative terms, earlier this week using the term “semi-fascist” to characterize far-right supporters from Trump .
“MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution. They don’t believe in the rule of law. They do not recognize the will of the people. They refuse to accept the results of a free election and are working right now as I speak, state by state, to give the power to decide America’s elections to supporters and friends, empowering the denialists to undermine democracy itself,” he said. to say.
The prime-time speech just two months before the midterm elections revived Biden’s “battle for the soul of the nation,” the phrase that defined his 2020 campaign against Trump and one that has become the rallying cry of his administration throughout his first term.
“I came here tonight to the place where everything began to speak very clearly to the nation about the threats we face,” Biden said, delivering his speech from outside Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, the same venue where signed the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution was written, “about the power we have in our own hands to meet these threats and about the incredible future that lies before us if we only choose.”
Biden used the speech to trace an arc from the night five years ago when neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and other white supremacists marched across the University of Virginia campus with torches chanting “Blood and soil” and “The Jews are not going to replace us.” — an event that Biden has said shook his moral compass and led him to run for president — to the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, uprising at the Capitol, where Trump’s most ardent supporters they hit, pepper sprayed and ransacked towards the roundabout. in an effort to stop the certification of the election, until today, as those still committed to the former president are now threatening the lives of law enforcement officials involved in a Justice Department investigation into the mishandling of hundreds of documents classified by Trump.
“I want to be very clear: Not all Republicans, not even most Republicans, are MAGA Republicans,” Biden said. “But there is no doubt that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans, and that is a threat to this country.”
“Look at the mob that stormed the US Capitol on January 6, brutally attacking law enforcement, not as rioters who put a dagger to the throat of our democracy, but as patriots,” he said. to say. “They see that their MAGA has not stopped a peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 elections in preparation for the 2022 and 2024 elections. They tried everything last time to nullify the votes of 81 million people. This time they are determined to succeed in thwarting the will of the people.”
The speech was briefly interrupted by protesters shouting through a megaphone, but Biden did not flinch and instead acknowledged their presence and reinforced their right to protest while urging them and the nation to not let disagreements become disrespectful.
Biden lamented the decision by the Supreme Court’s conservative majority to overturn Roe v. Wade, a decision made possible by the three justices confirmed under Trump, who swore before the Senate Judiciary Committee that they would not overturn longstanding precedent protecting women’s rights. access to the procedure. And he warned that there are other long-standing precedents now hanging amid an alarming push among states’ rights-obsessed Republicans.
“MAGA forces are determined to take this country back,” he said. “Back 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.”
With just 10 weeks before the November caucuses, the speech served to isolate Trump and his “Make America Great Again” evangelists, conservative ideologues and those dedicated to electoral denial.
“Democracy only lasts if the people respect the rails of the republic, only if the people accept the results of free and fair elections, only if the people see politics not as a total war but as a mediation of our differences” , Biden said. “Democracy cannot survive when one side believes there are only two outcomes in an election: either they win or they’ve been cheated. And that’s where the MAGA Republicans are today. They don’t understand what every patriotic American knows: you can’t love your country only when you win.”
Notably, the speech comes as new details emerge about the hundreds of classified documents Trump took from the White House and kept at his personal residence at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, about which the ‘FBI executed a search warrant. last month. While the event initially had Republicans crying foul, it now represents a new test of loyalty to Trump as the ongoing investigation continues to turn up more damning evidence.
But beyond partisanship, the evening also marked a turning point in Biden’s presidency, and perhaps the country, in which he urged Americans to “stand up” to defend democracy and roll back political extremism and threats of political violence.
“For a long time, we have made sure that American democracy is guaranteed,” Biden said. “But it is not. We must defend it. protect him defend it Each and every one of us.”
“Americans must now choose to move forward or move backward,” he said. “To build a future or obsess over the past. To be a nation of hope, unity and optimism, or a nation of fear, division and darkness. MAGA Republicans have made their choice. They embrace anger, thrive on chaos. They do not live in the light of truth but in the shadow of a lie”