President Joe Biden delivered a rare prime time speech in Philadelphia Thursday evening about the continued battle for the “soul of the nation.”
Speaking before Independence Hall, lit up in red and blue, the president said, “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.”
“MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards,” he continued. “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.”
In a warning about the threat he believes Trump and his supporters pose to the future of American democracy, Biden added, “For a long time, we’ve reassured ourselves that American democracy is guaranteed. But it is not. We have to defend it. Protect it. Stand up for it. Each and every one of us.
He continued, “History tells us that blind loyalty to a single leader, and the willingness to engage in political violence, is fatal to democracy. There is no question that the Republican Party is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans.”
“Vote! Vote! Vote,” he encouraged the crowd at the end of his 24-minute speech.
Biden’s remarks come two months ahead of consequential midterm elections that will determine the 79-year-old president’s ability to continue flexing the legislative arm of Congress in support of his goals. Democrats currently control both houses of Congress, allowing the party to push through landmark legislation in recent months regarding health care, climate change, taxes, technology and veterans’ benefits.
But with Republicans favored to take control of the House, it’s up to Biden to convince the American people that recent legislative wins — and continued efforts to bolster reproductive rights and strengthen the economy — prove Democrats’ efficacy.
Part of that persuasion requires him to also warn voters of the damage that he believes Trump-supporting Republican politicians can do if given power in Washington.
In a typically robust response, Trump, 76, described Biden’s speech as “awkward and angry” in a post on Truth Social, his social media platform. “He must be insane, or suffering from late stage dementia!” the former president said.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also rebuffed Biden’s speech in comments released ahead of the speech which described the president as being out of touch with the concerns of ordinary Americans.
“What Joe Biden doesn’t understand is that the soul of America is in the tens of millions of hard-working people, of loving families of law-biding citizens, [whom he] vilified for simply wanting a strong, safer and more prosperous country,” said McCarthy, reported The Washington Post.
Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, also called Biden “the divider in chief,” in comments released after his speech, reported The New York Times.
McDaniel added that Biden’s approach “epitomizes the current state of the Democrat Party. One of divisiveness, disgust and hostility towards half the country,” reported The New York Times.