Furious conservatives launched a collective tirade against president Joe Biden after he used his prime-time address to the nation to warn about the dangers posed by the “extreme ideology” of Donald Trump and his adherents.
In an unusually strong and sweeping indictment of his predecessor, Mr Biden said Americans must “be honest with each other” and themselves about the agenda being pushed by an extreme element of the Republican Party.
“Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal,” he said, adding that the man he defeated nearly two years ago – former president Trump – and his “Maga Republican” allies “represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our Republic”, using an acronym for Mr Trump’s Make America Great Again campaign.
“Maga Republicans do not respect the constitution,” Mr Biden said at the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “They do not believe in the rule of law. They do not recognise the will of the people.
“They refuse to accept the results of a free election,” he added, referring to Mr Trump’s claims that the 2020 presidential vote was rigged against him, and the subsequent attack on the US Capitol in a bid to overturn the results.
“And they’re working right now, as I speak, in state after state to give the power to decide elections in America to partisans and cronies, empowering election deniers to undermine democracy itself,” he said.
These elements are determined to take the country backwards 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,” he added.
Furious about his attack, Republican representative Marjorie Taylor Greene accused the president of destroying the economy, overseeing a spike in crime and having a lax border policy. She also attacked him for the recent raid by the FBI on Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.
“The only thing Americans have to fear are your policies that have destroyed our economy, spiked crime & murder rates to terrifying levels, opened our border to a daily foreign invasion of aliens & deadly Chinese fentanyl, leveled our once great Trump led American energy independence, and your rogue federal forces in the DOJ & FBI that you’ve weaponized against President Trump and those of us who have his back,” she wrote in a series of tweets.
Mr Trump’s director of communication Taylor Budowich claimed that the US is a “nation in decline” at the hands of Joe Biden and “the radical Democrat”.
“After campaigning on a ‘return to normalcy,’ Biden showed tonight all that meant is division and plight that has left every American worse off than they were before,” he added.
Tennessee senator Marsha Blackburn accused the former president of isolating and vilifying conservative Americans.
“Did Joe Biden just declare war on Red State America? I sure hope not,” wrote Republican representative Matt Gaetz.
“No, it’s the other way around. Red state declared war against America on January 6th,” quipped former Republican David Weissman.
Stephen Miller, a former senior adviser to Mr Trump, called Mr Biden’s speech dictatorial.
“President Biden tonight gave the speech of dictator in the style of a dictator, in the visual of a dictator, using the words of a dictator,” he said on Fox News.
“This was his enemies of the state speech. And like every other radical, Marxist tyrant, he accused his opponents of being fascist while he engages in repressive, authoritarian behaviour.”
Ohio Republican Senate nominee JD Vance attacked the president for not taking “responsibility for the fact that the country is not doing well”.
“Instead he has decided that the enemy is not him, not the people who’ve made bad decisions, but the patriotic Americans who are frustrated enough about the country that they love to work to change it,” he told Fox News.
“I just can’t imagine anything more divisive and more dangerous coming from a president who if he said anything during his campaign, it’s that he would unite the country.
“This is not uniting at all. He’s declaring war effectively on half of the country. Not just Donald Trump – I understand he doesn’t like Donald Trump – but on Donald Trump’s voters… and I can’t imagine a president ever doing that in American history.”