Biden to address ‘extremist threat to democracy’ in prime-time speech
(ABC News) – President Joe Biden on Thursday will speak in prime time about the “soul of the nation” as he ramps ups his political messaging ahead of the midterm elections this November.
Biden is set to make the remarks from outside Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia at 8 p.m. in what will be his second trip to the battleground state this week.
Biden will “speak about how the core values of this nation — our standing in the world, our democracy — are at stake,” according to a White House official.
“He will talk about the progress we have made as a nation to protect our democracy, but how our rights and freedoms are still under attack,” the official said. “And he will make clear who is fighting for those rights, fighting for those freedoms, and fighting for our democracy.”
The ramped-up rhetoric appears to mirror Biden’s 2020 messaging, in which he presented himself as a clear contrast to Donald Trump and the race itself as an inflection point for the nation.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Thursday’s speech would be in the same vein as his messages to the nation after the Charlottesville clash involving white nationalists and on the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol.
Biden has repeatedly cited Charlottesville as the moment he decided he was going to run for president. In a 2017 article for the Atlantic, Biden said the deadly event was indicative that the “giant forward steps we have taken in recent years on civil liberties and civil rights and human rights are being met by a ferocious pushback from the oldest and darkest forces in America.”
“You think about the battle continues, and so what the president believes, which is a reason to have this in prime time, is that there are an overwhelming amount of Americans, majority of Americans, who believe that we need to … save the core values of our country,” Jean-Pierre told ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Mary Bruce during Wednesday’s press briefing.
Jean-Pierre pointed to the Supreme Court’s decision striking down abortion rights — in which Justice Clarence Thomas called for the reconsideration of rulings involving same-sex marriage, contraception and other unenumerated rights — as evidence the rights of Americans are in jeopardy.
Biden’s speech Thursday comes after a stop in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, earlier this week, where he went after ‘MAGA Republicans’ for their response to the Jan. 6 attack and the FBI search at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
“For God’s sake, whose side are you on? Whose side are you on?” a fired-up Biden pressed as he made the case for his administration’s plan for policing and crime prevention.
More criticisms of his Republican colleagues could be in store, as Jean-Pierre said Biden views MAGA Republicans as the “most energized part of the Republican Party” and won’t be “shy” about speaking out.
“The president thinks that there is an extremist threat to our democracy,” she said on Wednesday.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., will be in Scranton ahead of Biden’s speech on Thursday to offer a preemptive rebuttal.
“He will talk about what he has heard from the American people this summer regarding rising crime, record high inflation and other hardships brought on by the Democrats’ harmful policies,” read a media advisory from McCarthy’s team.