PHILADELPHIA (CN) — In an unprecedented prime-time presidential address to the American people Thursday night, President Joe Biden took direct aim at his predecessor Donald Trump, accusing him and his loyalists of threatening American democracy.
“History tells us the blind loyalty to a single leader, and a willingness to engage in political violence is fatal to democracy,” Biden said. “For a long time, we’ve told ourselves that American democracy is guaranteed, but it’s not. We have to defend it.”
There’s no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans,” he continued. “And that is a threat to this country.”
Biden spoke to a crowd of several hundred at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the site where the Constitution was signed in 1787, backlit for the occasion with red, white and blue spotlights.
“As I stand here tonight, equality and democracy are under assault,” Biden said. “So I’ve come to the place where it all began to speak as plainly as I can to the nation about the threats we face about the power we have in our own hands to meet these threats.”
Referencing the midterm elections less than 10 weeks away in November, the president expressed concern about “MAGA” Republicans, using an acronym created from the former president’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.
“Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal,” he said, speaking of wild conspiracy theories and baseless claims of stolen elections. “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our Republic.”
While the president said he didn’t condemn all Republicans, just MAGA Republicans, he urged those who didn’t agree with Trump’s philosophies to vote against the former president and everyone who stood with him.
“MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution,” he said. “They do not 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,” Biden said. “And 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.”
More than 74 million Americans cast their ballots for Trump in 2020, who vehemently denied losing the election to Biden, falsely claiming the election was “stolen.” The denial culminated in 2021 with the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot, where Biden has emphasized that it was law enforcement officers who defended Congress members against a mob of people claiming against all evidence that the 2020 election was stolen.
And while Trump is now out of office, his shadow remains. Many Republicans on the ticket in November midterms are Trump-endorsed. Earlier this week Trump continued to post on his unconstitutional takes on social media: saying America should overturn the 2020 election results and hold a new election.
Biden emphasized Thursday that MAGA forces view the violent insurrectionist mob, many of whom have now been criminally tried, as a group of patriots and that they were currently preparing for the 2022 and 2024 elections.
“There is no place for political violence in America. Ever,” Biden said, adding that the group has also intimidated election officials and poll workers, as well as some of the FBI agents who recently seized classified documents from Trump’s Florida home.
Painting a picture of a MAGA-controlled country, Biden said it would become an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception and no right to marry who you love.
“That’s why tonight. I’m asking our nation to come together, unite behind the single purpose of defending our democracy, regardless of your ideology,” he said, then drawing to mind all his administration has accomplished in its last two years.
Passing the largest economic recovery package since Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president as a Covid-19 relief measure. Passing the biggest infrastructure bill since President Dwight Eisenhower to give American the money to rebuild the nation’s roads, ports, water systems and high speed internet. Updating the Affordable Care Act to make prescription drugs more affordable. Passing a new gun safety law and an important climate initiative.
“We need everyone to do their part. So speak up. Speak out. Get engaged. Vote. Vote. Vote,” Biden continued. “If we do our duty, If we do our duty in 2022 and beyond, and ages still to come, we’ll say, we — all of us here — we kept the faith. We preserved democracy.”
A battleground state with two open seats in the midterm elections, Pennsylvania will see two Trump-endorsed Republicans on the ballot in its governor and Senate races. Thursday’s event marked the President’s second trip to the state in a week, the first of which he used to push his his Safer America Plan and push support for Pennsylvania’s Democratic candidates.
Republican candidate for governor Doug Mastriano is an avid Trump supporter, and was in the crowd outside the U.S. Capitol when the insurrection occurred on Jan. 6, 2021. TV doctor Mehmet Oz, is the former president’s endorsement for Senate.
They will be up against the Democrat running for governor and Senate respectively, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman.
Biden’s speech Thursday was promoted as taxpayer-funded, a testament to Biden’s deep-seated belief that unseating those who hold Trump’s view is critical for America.
Former President Donald Trump is scheduled to host a rally in the state Saturday.
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