While in the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence, the president talked about what he believes to be America’s core values and how to fight for them. He also sounded an alarm, saying he sees threats to democracy, and added that both equality and democracy are under assault.
“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,” Biden said.
Hoping to connect to voters, Biden explained that he thinks the “Make America Great Again” agenda is one of the most extreme political strategies to date.
“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.
“Too much with what is happening in our country is not normal, Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent extremism,” Biden said.
Adding: “Violence can never be a political tool. There is no place for political violence in America. Period. Ever.”
Biden’s speeches have recently taken a more partisan tone. Once using an approach of unifying Americans during his campaign, he has lately seemed to paint a picture of extreme contrast between Republicans and Democrats. He has been more on offense when it comes to the MAGA point of view, even coming under fire for using the term “semi-fascist” to describe the MAGA wing of the GOP.
Thursday’s remarks illustrated more of a call for Americans to come together against MAGA Republicans.
“We are not powerless,” President Biden said, later adding: “There are far more Americans from every background and belief who reject the MAGA beliefs than who accept it.”
NewsNation Political Editor Chris Stirewalt believes Biden’s speech didn’t live up to what it was billed as Thursday night.
“It wanted to be something that was worthy of its location. Biden wanted to turn in this historic kind of landmark speech, but … I think what it ended up being was a pretty pedestrian kind of political speech,” Stirewalt said while appearing on “NewsNation Prime.”
The Hill’s Niall Stanage also weighed in, saying part of the purpose of the speech was to invigorate the Democratic coalition.
“I thought the president actually did a good job in his main quest, which was to push back against what he sees as very dangerous, demagogic tendencies in American politics,” Stanage said.
Still, Biden wasn’t the only politician with a message just two months out from the midterm elections. Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy traveled to the president’s hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, to give a speech ahead of Biden’s prime-time address.
“In the past two years, Joe Biden has launched an assault on the soul of America, on its people, laws and most sacred values,” McCarthy said. “He has launched an assault on our democracy.”
While countering Biden before the president’s own remarks, McCarthy placed an emphasis on record-high inflation under the Biden administration.
“If you can find what you need at the store, it costs more — a lot more,” McCarthy said. “The historic spending binge by Joe Biden and his Democrat Congress has brought the greatest inflation crisis to this nation in generations.”
McCarthy also said the Democratic agenda has brought “pain and suffering at home” and “humiliation abroad.”
The White House says Biden agrees with the Kevin McCarthy of Jan. 13, 2021, not the Kevin McCarthy of today. On Jan. 13, following the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, McCarthy said former President Donald Trump “bears responsibility” for the insurrection.
Following Biden’s address, McCarthy insisted that Biden owes Americans an apology.
“Instead of trying to bring our country together to solve the many problems he has created, President Biden has chosen to divide, demean, and disparage his fellow Americans — simply because they disagree with his policies,” McCarthy said. “Mr. President: you owe millions of Americans an apology.”
Senator Lindsey Graham also responded to the speech with the following tweet.
“With all due respect Mr. President, there’s nothing wrong with America’s soul. The American people are hurting because of your policies. Rampant inflation. Out of control crime. Terrorism on the rise. Broken borders. Stop lecturing & change your policies before it’s too late,” Sen. Graham said.
Biden’s “Soul of the Nation” comes after he visited Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, to speak about his Safer America Plan. The plan moves to ban assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and ghost guns; requires background checks for all gun sales with some exceptions; clears court backlogs and improves pretrial supervision of criminal cases; and invests in recruiting and training 100,000 additional police officers for community policing over the next five years.
Former President Trump is expected to follow in Biden’s tracks to Wilkes-Barre, where he is slated to hold a rally Saturday.