President Joe Biden once again gave a speech warning of the future of democracy, keying in on some GOP candidates’ refusal to commit to accepting the election results.
He also cited the attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, last week, telling an audience at Union Station that it was another sign of the rise in political violence over the past two years. He connected the Pelosi attack to January 6th, when Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen fueled his supporters to storm the Capitol.
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“Extreme MAGA Republicans aim to question not only the legitimacy of past elections, but elections being held now and into the future,” Biden said.
He said that element of the party was a minority, but was its driving force and “was trying to succeed where they failed in 2020, to suppress the right of voters, and subvert the electoral system itself. That means denying the right to vote, and deciding whether your vote even courts. Instead of waiting until the election is over, they are starting well before it. They are starting now.”
Broadcast networks did not carry the speech, but the major cable news networks did. Fox News, however, featured a chyron that read, “Biden smears Republicans ahead of midterms” and “Election denier Joe Biden accuses GOP of election interference.” Lachlan Murdoch, the CEO of Fox News parent Fox Corp., suggested last year that the network would act as the “loyal opposition” to the administration. Fox News also is facing defamation lawsuits from election systems companies Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems over some of the 2020 election claims made by their personalities and guests.
Biden’s speech had similarities to one he gave in Philadelphia in September. But the Union Station address was marked as official political event, sponsored by the Democratic National Committee, rather than an official White House event, as the speech in September was.
Biden said that Trump’s “big lie” about the 2020 election fueled the rise in political violence and voter intimidation over the past two years. But he said that even before January 6th, election officials and workers were subject to menacing calls and physical threats. He referred to those made against the Republican secretary of state of Georgia, Brad Raffensperger, who refused Trump’s plea to find him votes that would tilt the state to him.
Biden called out not just Trump but other voices on the right, albeit he did not specifically cite media personalities or news outlets.
“This intimidation, this violence, against Democrats, Republicans, and non partisan officials, just doing their jobs, are the consequence of lies told for power and profit, lies of conspiracy and malice,” Biden said. “Lies repeated over and over to generate a cycle of anger, hate vitriol and even violence. In this moment, we have to confront those lies with the truth. The very future of our nation depends on it.”
Kari Lake, the GOP nominee running for governor of Arizona, declined to answer when asked whether she would accept the results of the election if she lost. Tim Michaels, the Republican nominee running for governor of Wisconsin, told supporters at a campaign event this week that if he is elected, Republicans will “never lose another election” in the state.
The president’s speech, though, keyed into the Pelosi attack as a disconcerting trend, as authorities say that the attacker sought to kidnap the House Speaker and break her kneecaps.
Biden said that “we must with one overwhelming unified voice speak as a country and say that there is no place for political violence or voter intimidation in America, whether it is directed at Democrats or Republicans.”
In his speech, Biden said that “the voices excusing or calling for violence and intimidation are a distinct minority in America. But they’re loud and they’re determined.”
President Biden: "My fellow Americans, we're facing a defining moment, an inflection point. We must with one, overwhelming, unified voice speak as a country and say there's no place – no place – for voter intimidation or political violence in America." pic.twitter.com/u68STRsfBn
— CSPAN (@cspan) November 2, 2022
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