Biden issues new strong warning: Trumpism threatens democracy

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — President Joe Biden accused Donald Trump and his followers of “extreme ideology” that “threatens the very foundations of our republic” in a prime-time address as he called out all walks of life of Americans to help counter what he describes as dark forces within the Republican Party trying to subvert democracy.

On Thursday, Biden unleashed the pitfalls of the presidency in a speech in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall in an unusually strong and sweeping indictment of Trump. And what he said has become a dominant force in the opposition. Just under two months before Americans head to the polls in the highly contested midterm elections, Biden has called it a crossroads in America.

“Too much of what’s happening in our country today is abnormal,” he said in front of an audience of hundreds, raising his voice to pro-Trump questioners outside the building where the nation’s founding was being debated. He said he wasn’t condemning the 74 million people who voted for Trump in 2020, but added, “There is no question that today’s Republican Party is dominated by Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans,” using Trump The acronym “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.

Biden’s explicit efforts to marginalize Trump and his followers marked a recent sharp turnaround for the president, who touted a desire for national unity in his inaugural address.

Biden largely avoided mentioning the “ex” by name during his first year in office, but he has become increasingly vocal in calling out Trump in person. Now, with his party’s summer legislative victory and wary of Trump’s return to the headlines, he has stepped up his attacks, comparing the “MAGA philosophy” to “half-fascism” last week.

Stepping into dangerous political territory, Biden has struggled to balance his criticism with calls for more traditional Republicans to make their voices heard. Meanwhile, Republican leaders were quick to accuse him of only fueling political divisions.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy delivered a pre-emptive rebuttal in Biden’s birthplace of Scranton, Pennsylvania, saying it was the Democratic president, not the Republicans, who were trying to divide Americans.

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“Over the past two years, Joe Biden has launched an attack on America’s soul, its people, its laws and its most sacred values,” McCarthy said. “He launched an attack on our democracy. His policies seriously hurt the soul of America, weakened the spirit of America, and betrayed America’s trust.”

Asked about McCarthy’s criticism, White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre said earlier Thursday, “We understand that we’ve touched a nerve with Republican leaders,” citing previous statements from the GOP, Said Trump to respond to the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Trump plans to hold a rally in the Scranton area this weekend.

White House officials said the sharp tone of Biden’s remarks reflected his growing concern about the ideological proposals of Trump’s allies and his ruthless denial of the outcome of the 2020 U.S. election.

Biden accused the United States of being “attacked on equality and democracy,” viewing Trump and his supporters in the Republican Party as a threat to the nation’s system of government, status overseas and the way of life of citizens.

Trump and MAGA Republicans “raise authoritarian leaders who fan the flames of political violence,” he said. They were “determined to set the country back”.

“Throwback to an America where there is no choice, no privacy, no contraception, no right to marry the person you love,” he said, citing Democrats’ desire to keep social issues front and center for this year Fall voters.

Biden’s appearance, billed as an official taxpayer-funded campaign, shows how the president sees defeating Trump’s agenda as a policy goal as well as a political one. Red and blue lights illuminated the bricks of Independence Hall, a Navy band played “Salute to the Chief,” and a pair of Marine Corps sentries stood in the background of the parade break. Nonetheless, the major broadcast television networks did not live stream the address.

The president called on citizens to “vote, vote, vote” to protect their democracy. “We have long assured ourselves that American democracy is guaranteed. But that is not the case.”

Biden recalled the 2017 white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, which he said pulled him out of political retirement to challenge Trump. Biden, arguing that the country will face a similar crossroads in the coming months, sees defending the “soul of the nation” as “my job as president — a mission I believe in with all my heart.”

But Iowa Republican Chairman Jeff Kaufman said in a statement that Biden was using tactics from authoritarian regimes “to try to turn his political opponents into enemies of the state.”

Larry Diamond, a democracy expert and senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, said calling Trump’s attacks on democracy “can be manipulated or framed as partisan. If you don’t speak up, you’re backing down from the important challenge of defending democracy.” “

The White House is trying to keep Biden away from the legal and political maelstrom over the Justice Department’s discovery of classified documents at Trump’s Florida home. Still, Biden pointed to a swift condemnation of federal law enforcement by some Republicans, arguing that “you can’t support an uprising and support America.”

His trip to Philadelphia was just one of three he made to the state in a week, a sign of Pennsylvania’s importance in the midterm elections, where Senate and gubernatorial races are tight. However, Lt. Governor Democratic Senate nominee John Fettman and their gubernatorial pick, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, were in attendance Thursday night.

The White House intends to unify familiar themes in its speech: Use bipartisan legislative gains on guns and infrastructure as evidence that democracies are “deliverable” to overturn Republicans who Biden says don’t align with the majority view Gun and abortion policy.

The challenges have only grown since the tumult of the 2020 election and the Capitol attack.

The lies surrounding that presidential campaign sparked harassment and death threats against state and local election officials, as well as new restrictions on mail-in voting in Republican-dominated states. County election officials are under pressure to ban voting equipment, an effort fueled by conspiracy theories that voting machines were somehow rigged to steal elections.

Candidates who dissent from Trump’s loss are encouraged to run for state and local electoral office, promising to restore the integrity of a system damaged by false claims.

There is no evidence of any widespread fraud or manipulation of voting machines. Judges, including those appointed by Trump, have dismissed dozens of lawsuits filed since the election that Trump’s own attorney general has called bogus. Yet about two-thirds of Republicans say they don’t think Biden is a legitimately elected president, according to the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll.


Associated Press writer Zeke Miller reports from Washington. Christina A. Cassidy of Atlanta contributed.

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