- President Joe Biden on Thursday delivered a speech on the “battle for the soul of the nation.”
- The president assailed “MAGA Republicans,” who he said are determined to take the country backwards.
- “For a long time, we’ve reassured ourselves that American democracy is guaranteed,” he said. “But it is not.
With some of his strongest statements yet, President Joe Biden assailed “MAGA Republicans” in a rare prime-time speech on Thursday evening, as he spoke of an impending “battle for the soul of the nation,” just two months ahead of the November midterm elections.
Though his administration advertised the speech as an official White House event and not a campaign event, Biden’s televised comments come as he works to drum up support for Democratic lawmakers in an effort to help his party maintain control of Congress.
Biden delivered his remarks from the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday night, channeling the venue’s “sacred” history in his early statements.
“Tonight I have come here to the place where it all began to speak plainly as I can to the nation about the threats we face, about the power we have in our hands to meet these threats,” he said. “And about the incredible future that lies in front of us if only we choose it.”
Biden has mostly avoided using Trump’s name in recent speeches, but by naming him Thursday, he offered a more pointed attack at the former president and his supporters, accusing them of embracing extremism.
“MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards. 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,” Biden said. “They promote authoritarian leaders and fan the flames of political violence.”
The president acknowledged that the majority of Republicans are not the type of people about which he was talking, but said the current Republican Party is undoubtedly “dominated, driven, and intimidated by MAGA Republicans,” and called it a threat to our country.
“For a long time, we’ve told 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,” the president said.
Biden went off-script at one point to describe “darkness like you’re hearing in that bullhorn,” referring to protests outside the hall.
He urged the country to come together and unite behind a single purpose in rejecting MAGA ideology, while castigating insurrectionists and stressed the danger of undermining election integrity.
“There’s no place for political violence in America,” he said to applause from the crowd.
The president’s comments come just days after he suggested at a Democratic fundraiser that the ideology of the MAGA Republicans who have embraced former President Donald Trump’s worldview have paved the way for “semi-fascism” in the country.
Biden also took time during the speech to highlight some of his legislative successes, including a gun safety law and a recent healthcare reform and climate package, and made promises for the future, including ending cancer and providing more clean jobs.
“Democracy must be defended, for democracy makes all these things possible,” he said.
The president ended his speech by encouraging people to “vote, vote, vote,” and made mention of doing “our duty” in 2022 and beyond.