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Joe Biden’s MAGA Speech Was A Total Disaster

Joe Biden
US President Joe Biden. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

President Joe Biden delivered an impassioned speech about the state of American democracy and the Republican Party. While there was merit to some of it, his remarks were marred by contradictions.

Is this a nonpartisan defense of democracy or a partisan political exercise to win the midterm elections? Biden called on all Americans to join together “regardless of your ideology” to reject extremism, violence, and the refusal to accept election results when the opposition wins.

The president asked “Democrats, independents, and mainstream Republicans” to “be stronger, more determined, and more committed to saving American democracy than MAGA Republicans are to destroying American democracy.”

“For a long time, we’ve reassured ourselves that American democracy is guaranteed, but it is not,” Biden said at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. “We have to defend it, protect it, stand up for it. Each and every one of us.”

But Joe Biden also gave a straightforwardly partisan campaign speech, explicitly touting his own policies and somewhat more implicitly urging votes for Democrats in the upcoming elections. His appeared in a swing state, with competitive races for governor and Senate, for the second time this week, with plans to return over Labor Day weekend. 

“Democrats are betting that making Trump a central theme of the midterms will hurt Republicans’ chances of winning back control of Congress,” Axios reported.

“White House officials said the president has been planning this speech for a while, and it will not be focused on the news of the day,” reported CBS News. “White House officials also say it will kick off the president’s campaign season ahead of the midterm elections.”

To the “Never Trump Means Never Republican” crowd, there is no contradiction here. But a movement either transcends party lines, or it doesn’t. Democracy either means letting the chips fall where they may, or it means power for one party or candidate. 

Is MAGA at odds with mainstream Republicanism, or is it defining the GOP? “Not every Republican, not even a majority of Republicans, are MAGA Republicans,” Biden assured his listeners. “Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology.”

“But there’s no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans,” he added. “And that is a threat to this country.”

So does that mean Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who accepted the election results, rejected Trump’s voter fraud claims, criticized the 45th president’s actions on Jan. 6 and held him “practically and morally responsible” for the attack on the Capitol is a mainstream Republican and traditional conservative? Or does his failure to convict Trump in the second impeachment trial or willingness to support Trump if nominated mean he is “dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans?”

When asked to name non-MAGA Republicans, the White House seldom has much to say beyond Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a blue-state moderate who is term-limited out of office.

Is this about Jan. 6 and refusal to concede elections or broader policy disagreements with conservative Republicans? Biden devoted much of his speech to 2020 conspiracy theories and the Capitol riot, saying he would “not stand by and watch elections in this country be stolen by people who simply refuse to accept that they lost.”

But then he also argued that MAGA was responsible for policy disagreements on abortion and other issues where many Republicans held their current views for decades before Trump was involved in politics (and before Trump held socially conservative positions himself). “MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards,” Joe Biden said. “Backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love.”

This is a standard liberal stump speech line, consistent with polling showing that fear of Trump and anger over Roe v. Wade being overturned are the big Democratic motivators this fall.

Is this about marginalizing Trump and his allies or elevating them? Biden is highlighting his once and perhaps future opponent, whom his Justice Department is investigating for serious allegations, in an election where Trump is not on the ballot. This election cycle has been replete with examples of Democrats helping to prop up MAGA candidates, including helping to bump off a Republican congressman who accepted the election results and actually did vote to impeach Trump over Jan. 6.

Joe Biden himself has repeatedly said he would be “very fortunate” to face Trump in 2024 and that he would be even more likely to run for a second term if Trump was his opponent again.

The White House, which spent six months working with the Center for American Progress to come up with the “ultra MAGA” label, has to know that this helps Trump stay bonded with the GOP base.

Do norms matter or only when Trump and Republicans violate them? “We have to be honest with each other and ourselves: Too much of what is happening in our country today is not normal,” Joe Biden said. But look at the backdrop of this “official speech.”

“There’s nothing unusual or wrong with a President delivering a political speech — it’s inherent in the job description — but doing it against a backdrop of two Marines standing at attention and the Marine Band is a break with White House traditions,” tweeted CNN’s Jeff Zeleny. 

“Like or loathe what he said tonight, it should be noted: The president spoke tonight on the grounds of a national park, flanked by US Marines, and took direct, specific aim at his predecessor and members of the Republican Party,” tweeted CBS News’ Ed O’Keefe. “Another thing we don’t see everyday.”

Trump was criticized for accepting the 2020 Republican nomination at the White House, among other things.

The calls for an anti-MAGA political movement often fail to grapple with whether Trump’s 2020 “stop the steal” maneuvers were actually a radical escalation of the norms around accepting presidential election results beginning to break down in 2000, when five of seven presidential losers to varying degrees maintained they won the election after the fact before running out of options to contest the results. 

Trump went beyond any legally plausible path for challenging the election, had no credible evidence for his wilder claims, and the end result was a violent and deadly attack on the Capitol. But he’s not the only one who has suggested elections under rules he disagrees with may be rigged.

“I’m not going to say it’s going to be legit,” Joe Biden told a reporter when asked what his criticisms of red state voting laws meant for the legitimacy of the midterms. 

Expert Biography: A 19FortyFive Contributing Editor, James Antle III is the Washington Examiner’s politics editor. He was previously managing editor of the Daily Caller, associate editor of the American Spectator, and Editor of the American Conservative. He is the author of Devouring Freedom: Can Big Government Ever Be Stopped?

Written By

W. James Antle III is the Washington Examiner's politics editor. He was previously managing editor of the Daily Caller, associate editor of the American Spectator, and senior writer for the American Conservative. He is the author of Devouring Freedom: Can Big Government Ever Be Stopped?

30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. OttoDogg

    September 2, 2022 at 8:26 am

    The man who chose to have 20,000 soldiers occupying DC for his inauguration dares call his political opponents “fascists”.

    How Orwellian. It seems that all the DNC has is using Trump in lieu of Emmanuel Goldstein.

  2. avbsoftworks

    September 2, 2022 at 9:06 am

    Do legitimate presidents need to constantly tell everyone they are legitimate?

  3. pagar

    September 2, 2022 at 9:14 am

    Foooh, Biden, without batting an eyelid said trump and MAGA republicans were a threat to the ‘soul of america.’

    Does America even have a soul. Probably, it long ago sold it to the big ruler of hades, what with the near 400 wars it has waged since 1776.And the bloody proxy war in Europe that threatens to ignite a nuke war of the thermo type.

    Heh, Biden opening his big maw without thinking.

  4. JoeBob

    September 2, 2022 at 10:00 am

    I don’t think Biden’s speech was aimed at the hardcore far right intransigent trumpies. He is appealing to reasonable, patriotic people tired of TFG’s constant drama, scandals, lawlessness and flooding the zone with bullshit to inciting further upheaval.

    A writer for the Washington Examiner couldn’t be expected to provide an unbiased opinion.

  5. Eric-ji

    September 2, 2022 at 10:48 am

    Why is the image above not from Biden’s speech? Why does it not show the creepy setting?

    I request you to change the image to one of the actual speech.

  6. Scooter Van Neuter

    September 2, 2022 at 11:43 am

    “A Hitler for the Modern Age”
    Just when you think this meat puppet’s controllers couldn’t possibly do or say something more breathtakingly retarded, they always do. Absolutely incredible.

  7. David Farrar

    September 2, 2022 at 12:06 pm

    I hate to say this, but CNN and CBS are wrong. Biden’s ‘Reichstag Fire’ speech was an official policy statement from the executive branch of our government.

    Just as Hitler demonized the Jews, Biden demonized Trump and his supporters. Unless Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, the DNC, Mitch Mcconnell, the RNC, and Chief Justice Roberts repudiate this insane Hitlerian ideology, they will also be looked upon as fascists.

  8. Longo

    September 2, 2022 at 12:18 pm

    “While there was merit to some of it, his remarks were marred by contradictions.” Is the author of this article serious? Biden insults half of the American people and you call that “contradiction”?

  9. Jacksonian Libertarian

    September 2, 2022 at 12:24 pm

    Biden is the worst President ever according to the approval polls.

    Didn’t he campaign on being a Uniter?

    His actions are not those of a Uniter.

    And his ridiculous belief that an American Militia would need F-15’s to oppose his rule, is unworthy of a Commander-in-Chief. It’s no wonder military recruiting is failing, who wants to risk their life on such an idiot?

  10. GhostTomahawk

    September 2, 2022 at 12:33 pm

    So defending democracy is only applicable when the Democrats are in office huh? What is defending democracy? Is that just losing and waiting 4 years to vote again when ballot fraud is on camera and mules are dumping ballots in drop boxes in the middle of the night? Or is that to come out and protest and demand our govt hear us and investigate what 1/3 of Americans demanded. The election had serious legal problems and it needed a serious investigation. Not a recount.

  11. Yrral

    September 2, 2022 at 1:00 pm

    Biden should use the Klu Klux Klan act of 1871,with it broad civil and criminal penalty for those who violate it ,like Grant use during reconstruction,it would make MAGA supporters head spin,like the Exorcist,it was written almost be 150 years specifically for them ago Google Klu Klux Klan Act of 1871

  12. BubblePuppy7

    September 2, 2022 at 1:07 pm

    The J6 event was a riot, not an insurrection. And the only violent and deadly part of it was the murder of Ashley Babbitt.

  13. Eric-ji

    September 2, 2022 at 1:09 pm

    This applies to all political parties:

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” HL Mencken

  14. GhostTomahawk

    September 2, 2022 at 2:51 pm

    There is no way to spin this speech into a positive. You can’t advertise this as a Soul of America speech and turn it into a Campaign Rally to defame and smear your political opposition.

    News flash Biden: THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS ARE AGAINST YOU. This makes Joe Biden the minority. If he was so legitimate he wouldn’t need to remind us. We all know there are some very dubious voting “irregularities” in there. Call it fraud or whatever. The “democracy” Biden claims to protect he refuses to allow to happen. Silencing 1/3 (or more) of American voters so be can be ushered in is not a democratic process. With the FBI and DOJ integrity in serious question our govt is no longer trustworthy.

    This made for tv event should have never happened. The president should never be permitted to use his position and ability to capture media outlets in this manner again. No manner of spin can undo the damage he has done and the sooner we run this fraud out of town the better. He can take Kamala with him.

  15. Matt Musson

    September 2, 2022 at 2:56 pm

    The Stagecraft was horrendous. It was like Biden’s handlers said, “Let’s make Joe into a Graphic Novel Villain!”

  16. monkfelonious

    September 2, 2022 at 6:21 pm

    I regret wasting time reading this nothing burger and even more so the comments.

  17. phil stacy

    September 2, 2022 at 6:41 pm

    On the Biden side there is no Constitution, Bill of Rights or voter control of government and law is weaponized by a government that lies constantly.
    Populism is the opposite and does not use violence
    as a political tool. Biden is the choice of traitorous idiots who have no problem with the destruction of America and replacing the Republic with a totalitarian government like China.

  18. Paddy Manning

    September 2, 2022 at 6:45 pm

    Wass it beyond 1945 to get an actual photo of Biden’s Hitler Palpatine Speech? Or did the less obnoxious blue screen effort seem a better help to Dementia Joe?
    Also the only person who died during the stupid Capitol Riot was an unarmed female protestor murdered by Capitol Policeman Michael Byrd.
    Stacy Abrams has never accepted her defeat in Georgia…..

  19. Scottfs

    September 2, 2022 at 7:29 pm

    Albert Speer was the architect of the striking and stirring settings of Hitler’s most vile speeches.

    The setting of Biden’s speech was very Speer-like. Brooding blood-red, complete with military symbolism.

    Next, maybe Biden could pound the podium and scream about dark forces massing against him.

    Do you really think John Kennedy would make such a speech? Or even Clinton? Today’s Democrats are insane.

  20. TL

    September 3, 2022 at 12:24 am

    I thought this was site for everything military and defense, why are we talking about a speech from the President!?!

  21. CRS, DrPH

    September 3, 2022 at 1:41 am

    You folks missed the obvious intent of this speech, which is to prepare the American public for the upcoming arrest of Former President Donald J. Trump. Biden was indicating that he won’t tolerate the type of “wild in the streets” activities suggested by Lindsey Graham.

  22. David Chang

    September 3, 2022 at 6:45 am

    God bless people in the world.

    The sin of Biden and his Democrats is to worship democracy instead of God, so Biden turn the White House to a holy place like Mecca and Jerusalem. Biden believes that he is holy and above God. And his sin is like the Holy Roman Empire preach by Martin Luther.

    The Roman Republic, the Holy Roman Empire and other kingdoms claiming to be the successor of Roman Empire, such as Italy and Germany in 20th century, all is the same sin as Democratic Party.

    However, Republicans make the same sin as Democrats. All of rhem don’t worship God and not obey Ten Commandments.

    Secretary of Defense & Joint Chiefs Chair Respond to Rep. Matt Gaetz on Critical Race Theory. When Rep. Matt Gaetz accuse General Milley, Gates do not ask military to obey Ten Commandments, but only ask General Milley to stop promoting critical racial theory.

    I hope That Democrats and Republicans obey Ten Commandments. so God help us.

    God bless America.

  23. Libertysdefender

    September 3, 2022 at 8:30 am

    Trump’s claims about an stolen election were wild and evidence free. Huh. I live in Georgia and I saw plenty of evidence. I am an election denier. FJB is as counterfeit as a three dollar bill. The election was the crime of the century. To try to sweep it away with broad pronouncements is, I think, dishonest.

  24. Jim

    September 3, 2022 at 9:37 am

    Biden has always been a divisive, slash & burn type campaigner.

    In his senate campaigns, his goal was to keep voters “on side,” by whatever means necessary.

    Biden’s “red speech” is par for the course.

    The speech said more about Biden’s “soul” than anybody else’s…. maybe the pundits’ “souls” who instantly nodded in agreement.

    Biden’s “red speech”… that’s who he is and what he thinks of Americans who oppose him politically.

    It’s dark inside Joe’s world.

  25. flowerplough

    September 3, 2022 at 10:10 am

    ????? “result was a violent and deadly attack on the Capitol.”

    Cops generally held Capitol doors open for the “attacking” protesters, and the only violent death was a panicked cop lieutenant shooting an unarmed, non-violent woman. Ashli Babbit was shot by a Capitol Police lieutenant, some fool died of a drug overdose (Darwin approved, and the species was improved), and three others died of natural causes.

  26. Tom

    September 3, 2022 at 12:26 pm

    There was no so-called “deadly” so-called “attack on the Capitol”. A five foot, 105 pound, unarmed, white woman named Ashli Babbitt and an unarmed, white woman named Rosanne Boyland were the ONLY two people MURDERED at the Capitol, and they were murdered by two black, worthless, Capitol police.

  27. GSR

    September 3, 2022 at 5:29 pm

    I must have missed the “deadly attack” on 1/6. Hmm..

    This columnist is a typical Swamp idiot. I bet he didn’t know how Demtard women stormed Capitol Hill offices of Congressional members over Supreme Court nominees? I bet he didn’t know Shrillary Clinton never accepted the 2016 election? I bet he forgot bizarro Demtards rioting on Trump’s inauguration day?

  28. JACK

    September 3, 2022 at 9:36 pm

    Joseph Goebbels would be soooo jealous of today’s Democrats…

  29. J

    September 4, 2022 at 6:23 pm

    I don’t see the contradictions. The Party of No; is it always No because of political differences or No due to fear of MAGA Trumpism? I remember Tip O’ Neal said we need to find common ground with Reagan or we will not accomplish anything. Most Republican say No to everything and prefer to accomplish nothing. If you want to Be Like Trump,you too can sell American secrets abroad.

  30. Jim

    September 5, 2022 at 12:16 pm

    J,

    “Most Republican say No to everything and prefer to accomplish nothing.”

    What Republicans want to accomplish:

    1. Control of the border.

    2. Fair trade and balanced trade relationships.

    3. Stop & stay out of forever wars.

    (4. Energy dominance via all energy sources including hydrocarbons & coal.)

    What is wrong or “extreme” about the first three items?

    (And the 4th item is key to American Peace & Prosperity via Energy Abundance.)

    Can Democrats & Republicans work together to accomplish the above items?

    I’m serious, the above should be the basis for an Olive Branch to Democrats.

    Why is’t it a basis to work together for the Common Good?

    I’m ready… are you?

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