Biden walks back attacks on Trump voters in anti-MAGA speech

 

President Biden on Friday tried to walk back some of the fiery political rhetoric from his primetime speech in Philadelphia a night earlier, denying that he attacked Donald Trump voters despite having repeatedly slammed “MAGA Republicans” allied with the former president.

“Do you consider all Trump supporters to be a threat to this country?” a reporter asked Biden at the end of his only scheduled public remarks of the day.

“Come on, look, guys, you keep trying to make that case. I don’t consider any Trump supporter to be a threat to the country,” Biden said.

“I do think anyone who calls for the use of violence, fails to condemn violence when it is used, refuses to acknowledge when an election has been won, insists upon changing the way in which they can count votes, that is a threat to democracy.”

Biden called out MAGA voters in his "soul of the nation" speech last night.
Biden called out MAGA voters in his “soul of the nation” speech Thursday night.
AFP via Getty Images
"I don't consider any Trump supporter to be a threat to the country," Biden said.
“I don’t consider any Trump supporter to be a threat to the country,” Biden said.
AFP via Getty Images

Biden added, “When people voted for Donald Trump and support him now, they weren’t voting for attacking the Capitol, they weren’t voting for overruling an election, they were voting for a philosophy he put forward.

“So I am not talking about anything other than that it is inappropriate and it is not only happening here, but other parts of the world — the failure to recognize and condemn violence whenever it is used for political purposes, failure to condemn any attempt to manipulate election outcomes, failure to acknowledge when an election has been won or lost.”

Biden on Friday appeared to be walking back his fiery rhetoric from just hours earlier despite saying in Philadelphia 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’s strident, 24-minute speech outside Independence Hall featured three uses of Trump’s name and 13 mentions of his “MAGA” — or Make America Great Again — political movement.

“MAGA Republicans have made their choice. They embrace anger. They thrive on chaos. They live not in the light of truth, but in the shadow of lies. Together, we can choose a different path,” Biden said in the speech.

Last week, the president said support for his predecessor, who is openly considering a 2024 White House run, amounts to “semi-fascism.”

Biden mentioned Trump three times in his speech.
Biden mentioned Trump three times in his speech.
Getty Images

“What we’re seeing now is either the beginning or the death knell of an extreme MAGA philosophy,” Biden said at a Maryland fundraiser. “It’s not just Trump, it’s the entire philosophy that underpins the — I’m going to say something, it’s like semi-fascism.”

Republican leaders slammed Biden for what they called an attack on the 74 million Americans who voted for Trump in 2020.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Thursday, “When the president speaks tonight at Independence Hall, the first lines out of his mouth should be to apologize for slandering tens of millions of Americans as ‘fascists.’”

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