Biden sends a stark warning about political violence ahead of midterms: ‘We can’t take democracy for granted any longer’



CNN

President Joe Biden on Wednesday warned Americans that the future of the country’s democracy could rest on next week’s midterm elections, an urgent appeal that comes six days before the final vote in the presidential race.

“We cannot take democracy for granted,” the president said from Union Station in Washington, near the US Capitol where a group of people tried to disrupt the passage of the 2020 elections.

It was a stark message to the American people as they consider next week’s congressional elections that the future of the country is at stake. Mr Biden said the breakdown of candidates for office in any state that rejects the results of the last presidential race is a dire warning for the country.

“As I stand here today, there are people who want to be in every position in America – for governor, for Congress, for attorney general, for secretary of state who are not willing to accept the results of the elections they are in,” said Biden. “This is the path to chaos in America. It has never happened. It is illegal. And he’s not American. ”

Biden’s speech blamed what happened in the country at the feet of his predecessor, Donald Trump, accusing the former president of perpetuating a lie that has unraveled a web of conspiracy that has already led to violence.

“These threats, the violence of Democrats, Republicans and officials who are not aligned with those who are doing their jobs, are the result of lies told for power and profit, lies of conspiracy and malice, lies repeated over and over again to bring anger, hatred, vitriol and violence. ,” said Biden. “In the meantime, we must counter these lies with the truth, the future of our country depends on this.”

“American democracy is in danger because the former president who was defeated … refuses to accept the will of the people,” Biden said.

The speech — a political event hosted by the Democratic National Committee, not the White House — underscored the points Biden has been making for weeks since the primary in Philadelphia. However, it diverged from the central focus of the Democrats’ closing message, which has been a positive picture of economic growth.

Mr Biden’s message on Wednesday was pessimistic, although he was hopeful that Americans would reject the threats he described. Aides said Biden was prompted to deliver the address after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband was attacked last week by an intruder who, according to media reports, has been involved in right-wing schemes, including election fraud.

Biden made sure that most Americans, even most Republicans, would not engage in violence. But he said those who would have a great influence.

“I believe that words that excuse or call for violence and threats are rare in America,” Biden said. “But they are loud and clear.”

Mr. Biden and his team have been considering speaking on the topic of democracy for some time, but their decisions in recent days have been shaped by what they see as a rise in anti-democratic rhetoric and threats of violence. But Paul Pelosi’s attack shocked Biden and his top advisers; The dramatic home invasion and attack by Pelosi landed the 82-year-old in the hospital for surgery and has been recovering from a fractured skull, among other injuries.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 18: Paul Pelosi (L) and US House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi attend Tony Bennett's 85th Birthday Gala Benefit for Exploring the Arts at The Metropolitan Opera House on September 18, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Tony Bennett)

Prosecutors: The attacker woke Pelosi up, standing next to her bed

Advisers said before the incident that Mr. Biden felt it was important to directly criticize these types of threats and violence.

The theme of protecting the nation’s life — and the pillars of democracy in the country — was central to Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign. The president has talked about the issue throughout his presidency, but Wednesday’s speech showed an effort to emphasize what’s at stake in reaching the center.

Defending democracy has been an interesting part of Biden’s thinking this political season and has been prominent in his on-camera conversations with Democrats. A day before his speech in Washington, Mr Biden warned a group of Democratic donors in Florida that “democracy is on the ballot” this year – and gave a preview of his message the next day.

“How can you say you care about democracy when you deny the existence of victory? The only way you can win is to win or the other person has stolen,” he said at the event, which was held behind a mansion in Golden Beach, Florida.

“This hasn’t happened since the Civil War. It sounds like an exaggeration, but it hasn’t happened since then, like it is now,” he said.

Biden’s Civil War mention didn’t seem accidental; was spotted this week carrying historian Jon Meacham’s new book, “And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle,” which chronicles how America’s 16th president faced isolationism and threats to democracy.

Meacham is an adviser to Biden and has helped write some of his most famous speeches.

Biden already put it two months ago, traveling to Philadelphia, where he quickly criticized Trump and those who supported him for his efforts to destroy democracy.

“As I stand here tonight, equality and democracy are under attack,” Biden said at the time. “We don’t do ourselves any favors if we pretend.”

Biden warned strongly at the time about what he called “extremism that threatens the foundation of our nation.”

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