Biden links Paul Pelosi attack to Trump election lies

OASHINGTON—Warning that democracy itself is in jeopardy, President Joe Biden on Wednesday evening called on Americans to use their ballots in next week’s midterm elections to stand up against the lies, violence and the dangerous “ultra MAGA Republicans” trying to “succeed where they failed”. in the subversion of the 2020 elections.

Now is not the time to stay away, he said. “Silence is complicity.”

After weeks of reassuring talks on the US economy and inflation, Biden turned to a darker and more urgent message, saying in the final days of the midterm election vote that the country’s system of governance is threatened by former President Donald Trump’s election-denying lies and the violence Biden has said they inspire.

The president, who has focused on drawing an economic contrast between the Democrats and the GOP, shone the spotlight on the “ultra MAGA” Republicans – a reference to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan – the calling it a minority but the “driving force” of the Republican Party.

Pointing in particular to the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, he said Trump’s misrepresentations about a stolen election have “fueled the dangerous rise in political violence and voter intimidation over the past the past two years”.

“There is an alarming increase in the number of people in this country who are tolerating political violence or simply remaining silent,” Biden added. “In our bones we know democracy is in danger, but we also know this: it is in our power to preserve our democracy.”

The president’s speech – focused on the rite of the vote and the counting of that vote – amounted to a call for Americans to step back from the heated rhetoric that has heightened fears of political violence and challenges to the integrity of elections. Biden was straddling two roles at the moment, speaking both as a president defending the pillars of democracy and as a Democrat trying to bolster his own party’s prospects against Republicans.

Read more: ‘It’s all on the line’: How the midterms will shape Biden’s 2024 plans and his legacy

He called out the hundreds of candidates who denied the 2020 election result and refused to commit to accepting the results of the upcoming midterm elections.

“This driving force is trying to succeed where it failed in 2020 to take away voter rights and overthrow the electoral system itself,” Biden said.

“It’s the path to chaos in America. It’s unprecedented. It’s illegal. And it’s not American.

Highlighting growing concerns about political violence as well as threats from America’s long tradition of hard-fought but peaceful and accurate elections, he said these Republicans are “trying to succeed where they failed in 2020 to take away voters’ rights and overthrow the electoral system”. himself,”

The speech came days after a man seeking to kidnap Speaker Pelosi seriously injured her husband, Paul Pelosi, in their San Francisco home in the worst recent example of political violence that erupted with the insurgency. of January 6 and continued alarmingly, although less spectacular incidents.

Election workers across the country have debated whether they should return to work following increased intimidation and harassment ahead of Election Day. At least five people have been charged with federal crimes for harassing workers as early voting began.

Reports of people watching ballot boxes in Arizona, sometimes armed or wearing body armor, have raised serious concerns about voter intimidation. Election officials across the country are bracing for clashes at polling stations led by a flood of conspiracy theorists who have registered to work as partisan poll watchers.

Read more: How ‘Stop the Steal’ Became ‘Watch the Polls’

Stressing that this is the first federal election since the Jan. 6, 2021, uprising and Trump’s attempts to subvert voters’ wills in the 2020 presidential election, Biden called on voters to reject candidates who denied the results of the vote – which even the Trump administration has said was free from widespread fraud or interference.

Biden asked voters to “think long and hard about where we stand.”

“In a typical year, we are not often faced with the question of whether the vote we cast will preserve democracy or endanger it,” he said. “But we are this year.”

Biden also aimed to preempt conspiracy theories about the ongoing vote, saying Americans were voting early, by mail and by mail, and it would take time to count them “in a legal and orderly manner.” Major shifts in voting in 2020 due to the pandemic prompted more early voting and mail-in voting and saw record turnout. It took five days before the results of the 2020 presidential election were final.

“It’s important for citizens to be patient,” Biden said.

Biden delivered his remarks from Washington’s Union Station, blocks from the US Capitol, the White House said, just six days before polls closed on November 8 and when more than 27 million Americans have already vote.

“It’s coming from Capitol Hill, because that’s where there was an attempt to subvert our democracy,” senior White House adviser Anita Dunn told Axios, referring to the attack on the January 6.

Ahead of Biden’s speech, U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said he had reviewed the attack on Pelosi’s husband and believed the current political climate demands more resources and a better security for members of Congress after a massive increase in threats against lawmakers after Jan. 6. He also made a rare call to stop the spiteful conspiracy talk that swirled around the attack.

“Our brave men and women are working around the clock to carry out this urgent mission in this time of division,” he said in a statement. “In the meantime, one important change that will have an immediate impact will be for people across the country to turn the heat on political rhetoric down before it’s too late.”

Biden last gave a prime-time speech on what he called the “continuing battle for the soul of the nation” on Sept. 1 outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia, in which he condemned the “forces MAGA” of Donald Trump and his supporters as a threat to the American system of government.

The new remarks come as hundreds of candidates who have falsely denied the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election are on the ballots across the country, many of whom are set to be elected to critical supervisory positions. elections.

Unlike September’s remarks, which drew criticism in some corners for being paid for by taxpayers, Biden’s speech on Wednesday night was organized by the Democratic National Committee.

Many Americans remain pessimistic about the state of American democracy. An October poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that only 9% of adults think democracy works ‘extremely’ or ‘very well’, while 52% say it doesn’t. good.

AP writers Seung Min Kim and Colleen Long contributed.

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