President Biden repeatedly slammed Donald Trump and “MAGA Republicans” in an overtly political primetime address the White House billed as “the battle for the soul of the nation” — a speech ignored by all major TV networks and carried by just two cable channels.
With a heckler relentlessly shouting, “F–k Joe Biden” throughout the 24-minute speech, the president called “MAGA Republicans” and supporters of his predecessor and potential 2024 rival Donald Trump a threat to “the republic.”
“Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal. Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic,” Biden said feet from Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
“There’s no question 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.”
“They’re entitled to be outrageous. This is a democracy,” Biden said about 20 minutes into his speech as the heckling continued, audible on the official White House video feed.
“Good manners is nothing they’ve ever suffered from,” he cracked.
The speech was carried live by few TV outlets. Only CNN and MSNBC ran the remarks live. ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS, Fox News and Fox Business did not air it.
Biden spoke after his press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at an afternoon briefing that “it’s not a political speech” and that “he’s going to talk about uniting the people of this country who believe in equality and democracy.”
But Biden cast aside that pretense of steering clear of politics by mentioning Trump by name three times and his MAGA — or Make America Great Again — political movement 12 times.
“MAGA Republicans have made their choice. They embrace anger. They thrive on chaos. They live not in the light of truth, but in the shadow of lies. Together, we can choose a different path,” Biden said.
The commander in chief spoke before a military band and a crowd of supporters as he said that Republicans are plotting to manipulate elections in their favor.
“They’re working right now, as I speak, in state after state to give power to decide elections in America to partisans and cronies, empowering election deniers to undermine democracy itself,” Biden insisted.
“I will not stand by and watch elections in this country stolen by people who simply refuse to accept that they lost. I will not stand by and watch the most fundamental freedom in his country — the freedom to vote and have your vote counted — be taken from you and the American people.”
The juxtaposition of the military members in the speech even drew a rebuke from a CNN news host.
“Whatever you think of this speech the military is supposed to be apolitical. Positioning Marines in uniform behind President Biden for a political speech flies in the face of that. It’s wrong when Democrats do it. It’s wrong when Republicans do it,” tweeted “New Day” host Brianna Keilar.
Biden insisted that “MAGA Republicans” looked fondly upon the violence by a mob of Trump supports who stormed the Capitol to disrupt certification of his election victory — despite the fact that nearly all elected Republicans condemned the assault.
“They look at the mob the storm the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, brutally attacking law enforcement, not as insurrectionists who placed a dagger at the throat of our democracy. But they look at them as patriots,” Biden said.
“And they see their MAGA failure to stop a peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 election as preparation for the 2022 and 2024 Elections. They tried everything last time to nullify the votes of 81 million people. This time, they’re determined to succeed in thwarting the will of the people.”
Biden went on, “Democracy cannot survive when one side believes there are only two outcomes total election. Either they win, or they were cheated. And that’s where the MAGA Republicans are today.”
“I will not stand by and watch — I will not [let] the will of the American people be overturned by wild conspiracy theories, and baseless evidence-free claims and fraud. I will not stand by and watch elections in this country, stolen by people who simply refuse to accept that they lost,” he said.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy delivered his own speech about two hours earlier, from Biden’s birthplace of Scranton, Penn., and accused the president of waging his own “assault on democracy.”
“Joe Biden and Big Tech colluded to silence your freedom of speech and shut down your voice on the largest communication platforms in the world. That is an assault on democracy,” McCarthy said.
“Joe Biden and his Department of Justice labeled concerned parents who speak at school board meetings as domestic terrorists That is an assault on democracy.” he added. “Joe Biden has unilaterally rewritten the immigration laws of the United States, defying Congress and the Constitution that binds us all. That is an assault on democracy.”
“Joe Biden’s government has shielded his family and his administration from accountability of abuses of power and foreign dealings of his son for personal gain. That is an assault on our democracy,” McCarthy continued. “Joe Biden and the politicized Department of Justice launched a raid on the home of his top political rival Donald Trump. That is an assault on democracy.”
Although bashing Trump and his allies took most of the focus, Biden spoke briefly about why voters should support Democrats instead.
“I give you my word as a Biden I’ve never been more optimistic about America’s future,” Biden said.
“We’re going to end cancer as we know it, mark my words. We’re going to create millions of new jobs and the economy. We’re gonna think big are going to make the 21st century another American Century.”
“That’s where we need to focus our energy on the past, not on divisive culture wars, a politics of grievance, but on a future we can build together,” Biden said. The MAGA Republicans believe that for them to succeed, everyone else has to fail.”