Joe Biden took the stage, took off his jacket, rolled up his sleeves and went on the attack. The president of the United States went into campaign mode on Thursday in a bid to win over voters ahead of the midterm elections, where the Democrats are at risk of losing control of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Biden not only spoke of his government’s latest achievements, but also slammed the Republican Party for following Donald Trump’s extremist philosophy.
“What we’re seeing now is either the beginning or the death knell of an extreme MAGA philosophy,” Biden told a group of Democratic donors at a private home in Maryland, in reference to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” motto. “It’s not just Trump,” he went on, “it’s the entire philosophy that underpins the – I’m going to say something: It’s like semi-fascism.”
Following the closed-door fundraising event, Biden held a rally at a sports center in Rockville, which was attended by 3,700 supporters. “I respect conservative Republicans,” Biden said at the rally. “I don’t respect these MAGA Republicans.”
Although Biden has repeatedly criticized the extremism of Trump supporters, he has never before compared the ideology of the former US president to fascism. The FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate has put the former president back at the center stage of US politics. Democrats hope the renewed attention on Trump will help them sway voters at the November 8 midterm elections, in which a third of the Senate and the entire House of Representatives (435 seats) are up for grabs. Indeed, in some counties, Democrats have openly supported Trump candidates on the belief that they will be easier to beat in November.
Republicans have been eagerly awaiting the midterms, which are traditionally unfavorable to the incumbent’s party. The Republicans intended the election to be a kind of referendum on Biden, whose popularity has falling as quickly as fuel prices have been rising. But other issues have crept onto the agenda, such as the Supreme Court’s controversial rulings on abortion, gun rights, religion and the environment, as well as Trump’s comeback. “Keep the faith,” Biden said to supporters who attended the Rockville rally.
During his speech in Rockville, Biden argued that the Democrat Party has defended the people’s interests against powerful lobbies for decades. But while Big Pharma, the gun lobby, corporations that don’t pay taxes and climate change deniers may have won the battle in the past, this year, the American people were the winners, he said. Biden went on to explain the gains he had made against these groups, pointing to the government’s new gun laws, corporate taxes and measures to combat climate change. Most of these measures are included in the Inflation Reduction Act, which was opposed by all Republican representatives. Biden also spoke about his infrastructure initiatives, student loan forgiveness plan and the new law that will pump billions of dollars into US chip manufacturing. To end, he pointed out that under his government, the public deficit has shrunk and unemployment levels had fallen to their lowest levels in 50 years.
At the rally, Biden called on the public to vote, making a special appeal to women. “MAGA Republicans don’t have a clue about the power of women,” he said. “Let me tell you something: They are about to find out.” Biden promised to enshrine abortions rights in law, protect Social Security and ban assault weapons.
The US president avoided making any reference to the FBI raid on Trump’s Florida home, but he did launch a scathing attack on Trump supporters within the Republican Party. “The MAGA Republicans don’t just threaten our personal rights and economic security,” he said. “They’re a threat to our very democracy. They refuse to accept the will of the people. They embrace political violence. They don’t believe in democracy.”
Biden has at all times avoided referring to the Mar-a-Lago registry, but to finish he has returned to the attack against the Trumpists: “We are at a serious moment in the history of our nation. MAGA Republicans not only threaten our personal rights and economic security. They are a threat to our own democracy. They refuse to accept the will of the people. They embrace political violence.”
“This is why in this moment, those of you who love this country – Democrats, independents, mainstream Republicans – we must be stronger,” he added, to applause from the audience.
But the applause was interrupted by a heckler, who yelled: “You stole the election!” The crowd booed, and the man was escorted out of the building.