Democrats hail Biden for calling Trump


(The Hill) – Democrats have been waiting a year for President Joe Biden to challenge former President Donald Trump for his claims about the 2020 presidential election and identify the role Trump played in getting his supporters to “fight like hell ”to dispute the result.

Standing on the Capitol on Thursday, Biden finally did just that.

A common sentiment among Democrats is that Biden has not been tough enough on Trump as the former president relentlessly accuses Democrats of rigging the election and making repeated allegations of widespread voter fraud in which various maneuvers legal and state certifications have failed to prove.

Democrats say they waited for Biden to respond in kind, as the stakes rise even higher in a midterm election year in which his poll numbers drop and Democrats risk losing both chambers of Congress.

“Hey, White House, more of that please,” a Democratic strategist said of Biden’s Jan. 6 speech. “Fuck more of that.”

Biden on Thursday accused the former president, whom he never addressed by name, of placing his own interests above those of the country, of spreading a “web of lies” which laid the groundwork for the attack of the Capitol and present a clear threat to democracy.

It was one of the strongest speeches Biden has ever given and struck the perfect balance between remembering the tragedies of the day while clearly and directly describing who was responsible for the attack and that they continue their efforts to date, ”the Democratic strategist said. Eddie Vale.

Other Democrats have said the address in which Biden sought to dismantle Trump’s election lies and pay homage to those affected by the riot was one for the history books.

“President Biden’s speech was one of the best speeches I’ve heard from a sitting president,” said Democratic strategist Adrienne Elrod, who served as Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign assistant. seized the opportunity and delivered the passionate and substantive speech our country needed to hear that day, while strongly calling on President Trump for his role in inciting and applauding the insurgency from the United States Capitol.

Since Biden took office, he has rarely referred to his predecessor and generally does not refer to Trump by name.

There were a few exceptions. Biden rebuked Trump’s election lies in a major voting rights speech last summer and then slammed then-Virginia Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin as “Donald Trump’s sidekick.” at a rally for Terry McAuliffe, the Democrat who lost to Youngkin.

The White House on Thursday challenged the idea that Biden would have hesitated to call Trump and suggested he would continue to use the Jan.6 insurgency as a motive for action on voting rights.

“The president launched his campaign on the idea that the former president posed a unique threat to the soul of our country and he made this point throughout the campaign and during the last year in office.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at a press conference. briefing after the president’s speech.

“We would say the fact that he was always hesitant to make it clear that his predecessor, former President Trump, was a threat to democracy, posed a threat to democracy, throughout his presidency, and that was one of the main reasons President Biden ran for office, ”Psaki said.

John Anzalone, who polled for Biden’s 2020 campaign, said Biden’s remarks would resonate with Americans who want those responsible for the riot to be held accountable.

Anzalone pointed to a recent poll by the Democratic polling company Navigator showing that 78% of Americans think it is important for federal law enforcement to “find and prosecute” rioters who have violated Capitol Hill. The same poll also found that 72% oppose the actions of Trump supporters who burst onto Capitol Hill a year ago.

“I thought he was showing real leadership and had a very strong message for the American people who are disturbed by the actions taken on January 6,” Anzalone said.

But while Democrats praised Biden’s rhetoric, some Republicans and conservative commentators have suggested his comments were divisive.

Doug Heye, a Republican strategist and former spokesperson for the Republican National Committee, argued that Biden’s remarks would resonate with Democrats but not independents and Republican voters who recognize his election.

“The less political the better for Biden, and it was political,” Heye said. “By attacking Trump today and doing it with as much force as he did, it’s not clear what Biden hoped to accomplish or what the strategy was. It certainly doesn’t lower the temperature.

Speaking to reporters following his remarks, Biden said he refused to address Trump by name because he “didn’t want to make it a contemporary political battle between” himself and his predecessor. At the same time, he spoke of a need for the nation to “face the truth” in order to heal.

“It’s about seeing this moment as an inflection point, not just on a former president, but on who we are as a country, if Republicans in Congress are going to step up, which the American people can rest assured in terms of his efforts to fight for the protection of their basic rights, “Psaki said.” He’s bigger than a former president. “

Biden is expected to give another speech on voting rights in Atlanta on Tuesday, which would give him another opportunity to mention the former president and his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. But it is too early to say whether the speech Thursday predicts a broader message shift.

Democratic strategist Christy Setzer said she would also like to see a lot more of the fiery rhetoric delivered by Biden on Thursday, but she remained skeptical about whether he would continue down that path.

“There is no reason to believe, based on President Biden’s strong rhetoric and light on action discourse, that he cannot continue to do just that,” Setzer said. “Biden’s words against Trump were clear and effective, but where is the responsibility, and why is this speech only taking place a year later?”

Setzer said Biden and his administration had failed to cope with the gravity of the country’s political division.

“Combined with [Attorney General] Merrick Garland’s mocking words yesterday, the administration and his Justice Department are a day late, a dollar short, and we are out of time to save democracy, ”she said.


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