Biden will deliver a speech on protecting democracy Wednesday night in DC
President Joe Biden will deliver a speech on protecting democracy on Wednesday, just six days before midterm elections, as the nation faces a tense political climate after attack about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband.
“On Wednesday, November 2nd, President Joe Biden will speak about preserving and protecting our democracy as Election Day approaches. The President will address the threat of election deniers and those who seek to undermine faith in voting and democracy; and the stakes for our democracy in next week’s election,” a Democratic official told CNN.
The speech — a political event hosted by the Democratic National Committee, not the White House — will highlight what Biden has been saying for weeks since the prime-time speech in Philadelphia. Republicans and others criticized the address, which covered many of the same topics the president will touch on Wednesday night, as too political for an official White House event.
“Biden has talked about democracy the whole time he’s been in office,” Jen O’Malley Dillon, the president’s deputy chief of staff, told Axios. “You can expect to hear from him tonight, much like what he’s been saying over the last few months, that there’s a lot at stake, including democracy, and everyone has a role to play in that.”
She said that Biden will emphasize that it takes time to calculate the results, but that this should not undermine confidence in the results.
“That’s how a democracy works, to make sure every vote counts, so he’s going to emphasize that,” added O’Malley Dillon.
The setting of the speech near Capitol Hill is intended to refer to an attack on the Capitol building on January 6, 2021, with the goal of ending Biden’s victory streak.
“6. In January we saw violence aimed at undermining democratic processes there. So it’s, you know, an appropriate place to make these remarks tonight,” said Biden adviser Anita Dunn.
Advisers to the president tell CNN that Biden and his team have been considering giving a speech on this very topic for some time — but that their decision-making and thinking in recent days has been shaped by what they see as an increase in anti-Democratic rhetoric and threats of violence.
One recent headline in particular has deeply troubled Biden and his top advisers: the violent attack on Paul Pelosi last week that authorities say was politically motivated.
The shocking home invasion and attack on Pelosi landed the 82-year-old in hospital for surgery, and he has since been recovering from a fractured skull, among other injuries.
Advisers say Biden felt it would be important for him to directly condemn such threats and acts of violence. They will also want to speak directly to election naysayers, they said, in an effort to partly counter Republican elected officials and candidates who have openly said they may refuse to accept the results of next week’s election.
The theme of protecting the soul of the nation – and the pillars of the country’s democratic system – has been central to Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign. midterms.
Defending democracy has been an animating feature of Biden’s thinking this political season and has come up increasingly in his off-camera conversations with Democrats. A day before his speech in Washington, Biden warned a group of Democratic donors in Florida that “democracy is on the ballot” this year — and offered something of a preview of his message for a day later.
“How can you say you actually care about democracy when you deny the existence of victory? The only way you can win is you either win or the other guy cheated on you,” he said at the event, held in the backyard of a beachfront home in Golden Beach, Florida.
“This has not happened since the civil war. It sounds like hyperbole, but it hasn’t happened since then, as bad as it is now,” he said.
Biden’s reference to the Civil War hardly seemed accidental; this week he was seen carrying a copy of historian Jon Meacham’s new book, And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle, which explores how the 16th US president dealt with secession and threats to democracy.
Meacham is an informal adviser to Biden and has helped write some of his most prominent speeches.
Speaking at a fundraiser in Florida, Biden pointed to the attack on Paul Pelosi and said it was not surprising given the Republican rhetoric. The attack on the House Speaker’s husband is one of the reasons why Biden decided to give the speech on Wednesday, officials said, although plans had been in the works for some time.
“Look at the response — the so-called response — from Republicans, who are joking about it and/or saying, ‘Well, you know, it’s not because of what was said and what wasn’t said,'” Biden said of the attack.
“The reason people do what they do – there are a lot of unstable people in a population as large as ours. When they hear these outrageous lies every day – these outrageous lies about everything,” Biden said.
“How can you be surprised?” asked. “A guy buys a knee hammer number 3 in line to be president of the United States of America — number 2 in line, I should say, to be … president of the United States of America. And no one in that party condemns it for what it is.”
Biden previously laid out the stake two months ago, traveling to Philadelphia, where he issued an urgent rebuke of former President Donald Trump and those associated with his attempts to undermine democracy.
“As I stand here tonight, equality and democracy are under attack,” Biden said at the time. “We do ourselves no favors to pretend otherwise.”
Biden then strongly warned against what he called “extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”
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