UNITED STATES: President Joe Biden has stated that those who support Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” (Maga) agenda threaten democracy.
In a speech delivered during prime time in Pennsylvania, he declared, “Maga forces are determined to drive this country backwards.”
Kevin McCarthy, a leading Republican, said Biden had “severely injured America’s soul.”
Two months out from the midterm elections, which will determine the balance of power in Washington, rival speeches are being delivered.
Biden aims to revive the ‘soul of America’
On Thursday night, the Democratic president spoke from Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the site of the signing of the US Declaration of Independence. He adopted the idea of reviving the “soul of America” as his 2020 campaign slogan.
He said he was not condemning all 74 million Americans who voted for Trump two years ago.
“Not every Republican, not even a majority of Republicans, are Maga Republicans,” Biden added.
“But there’s no question,” Biden continued, “that the Republican party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the Maga Republicans, and that is a threat to this country.”
The president claimed that rather than seeing the crowd that stormed the US Capitol last year as insurrectionists, Trump supporters did.
“For a long time,” he continued, “we told ourselves that American democracy is guaranteed. But it’s not. We have to defend it. Protect it. Stand up for it. Each and every one of us.”
Throughout the speech, someone was heard heckling and sounding a bullhorn, according to a reporter at the scene.
Biden addressed the disruption twice, saying the second time: “They’re entitled to be outrageous. This is a democracy. Good manners are nothing they’ve ever suffered from.”
The president, who came into office pledging to unite the country, has recently sharpened his rhetoric against supporters of Trump.
Last week Biden equated “extreme” Republicans with “semi-fascism”.
McCarthy, the Republican minority leader in the US House of Representatives, spoke shortly beforehand from Biden’s hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
The California congressman said the president “has chosen to divide, demean, and disparage his fellow Americans”.
“Why? Simply because they disagree with his policies. That is not leadership.”
He called on Biden to “apologise for slandering tens of millions of Americans as fascists”.
The top Republican said the Biden presidency had saddled America with soaring inflation, open borders, Covid school shutdowns that damaged children’s learning, the “botched” withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the deadliest national crime wave in two decades.
“In the past two years Joe Biden has launched an assault on the soul of America, on its people, on its laws, on its most sacred values. He has launched an assault on our democracy. His policies have severely wounded America’s soul, diminished America’s spirit and betrayed America’s trust,” he said.
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