Joe Biden delivered a powerful speech on Thursday, raising concerns about the future of American democracy in the face of a potential second term for Donald Trump. With his approval ratings stagnant and concerns about his age, Biden aimed to rally his supporters and sway undecided voters by highlighting the dangers he believes a second Trump presidency would bring.
Speaking in Phoenix, Arizona, Biden declared that the country is at a critical juncture in its history. He expressed concern over the authoritarian values of Trump’s Make America Great Again (MAGA) movement, stating that they pose a threat to American democracy. He emphasized the need to protect and maintain the country’s democratic values.
Biden invoked the late Senator John McCain, with whom he had a close relationship, to highlight the selfless virtues of democracy. However, he was momentarily interrupted by a heckler demanding his stance on declaring a climate emergency.
Throughout his speech, Biden contrasted democratic norms and traditions with what he sees as the conduct of his predecessor. He emphasized the importance of free and fair elections, respecting the outcome regardless of party affiliation. He also condemned political violence, stating that it is never acceptable and should not be normalized for political gain.
While Trump failed to overturn the 2020 election result, Biden warned that the danger to democracy still persists. He cited ongoing threats of violence, including recent attacks aimed at General Mark Milley, the chair of the US armed forces joint chiefs of staff.
The speech, delivered at an event honoring McCain’s memory, showcased Biden’s belief in bipartisan cooperation, a characteristic he believes is lacking in today’s Republican party. He criticized the party for being driven and intimidated by MAGA extremists, stating that their extreme agenda would fundamentally alter American democracy.
Biden has been privately portraying Trump as a threat to democracy to donors at fundraising events for his upcoming presidential campaign. The speech in Phoenix marked the first time he publicly addressed this issue since the congressional mid-term elections last year, indicating that he intends to make it a central theme in his campaign.