On Thursday, President Biden will use a prime-time address to argue that the political movement led by his predecessor poses an “extreme threat” to democracy as his criticism of Republicans grows sharper in the news. november half term approaches.
Biden will travel to Philadelphia for a speech at Independence Hall, which the White House calls “the soul of the nation.” Officials have offered few details about the actual contents of the speech, but the decision to deliver it in prime time marks a new effort for Biden to pursue what he and the White House have described as “MAGA Republicans,” a reference to the former president. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” ideology.
“The president thinks there is an extremist threat to our democracy. The president has been as clear as possible on this particular element,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Wednesday.
“When we talk about our democracy, when we talk about our freedoms, the way he sees it is that the MAGA Republicans are the most energetic part of the Republican Party,” she continued. “It is an extreme threat to our democracy, to our freedom, to our rights. They simply do not respect the rule of law. You heard that from the president. And they pursue an agenda that deprives people of their rights.
Presidents rarely give major speeches during prime time, usually doing so only to speak directly to the public about matters of major national concern.
In June, Biden gave a primetime speech on gun violence after mass shootings at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, and at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. He also gave one in 2021 to mark the anniversary of the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision to deliver Thursday’s prime time speech reflects the urgency of the threat the White House believes some Republicans pose if they potentially win majorities, with the midterm elections just two months away.
“Because he thinks our democracy is in danger,” Jean-Pierre said Wednesday when asked why Biden was giving the prime-time speech.
“The president is not going to shy away from speaking out, speaking out, and it’s very important for him to speak directly to the American people,” she added.
Biden has become more assertive in recent weeks calling them “MAGA Republicans.” At a political rally last week in Maryland, Biden called the movement “semi-fascism.”
On Tuesday in Pennsylvania, Biden repeatedly referred to “MAGA Republicans” in citing the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.
“So let me say this to my MAGA Republican friends in Congress: don’t tell me you support law enforcement if you don’t condemn what happened on the 6th,” Biden said to applause.
Jean-Pierre argued that those same Republicans are pushing to take away rights from Americans, pointing to push by some GOP members for a nationwide law restricting access to abortion after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade earlier this summer.
Some Republicans have criticized Biden for his comments, arguing he campaigned on a promise to unite the country and bring the nation’s temperature down, but uses inflammatory rhetoric by comparing conservatives to fascists.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced plans to deliver his own speech ahead of Biden’s speech. McCarthy will speak from Scranton, Pa., Biden’s hometown, about “what he heard from the American people this summer about rising crime, record inflation and other hardships brought on by harmful Democrat policies “.