On Thursday night — in front of an ominous red-lit Independence Hall in Philadelphia, a scene straight out of a dystopian film dictatorship — a fire-breathing President Joe Biden implied roughly half the American voting public was a threat to democracy or complicit with them.
On Friday morning, Biden insisted all of this divisive rhetoric was somehow being made up by conservative media.
Apparently, either our president didn’t remember giving the speech or he was using the “who are you going to believe — you, or your lying ears?” treatment. There was always the possibility we all imagined the “soul of the nation” diatribe — although a quick check on Twitter revealed, no, that wasn’t the case.
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) September 2, 2022
“Equality and Democracy are under assault. We do ourselves no favor to pretend otherwise,” says President Biden, at the beginning of his remarks tonight.
“Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our Republic.” pic.twitter.com/Yc9sdolykO
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 2, 2022
All right, then, Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked Biden on Friday morning. Did he “consider all Trump supporters to be a threat to the country?”
At first, this got the classic Biden “c’mon.” You know the drill. Let’s say you were to ask Biden if he ever got hair plugs: “C’mon, man! I never did that,” he would respond. “I just enthusiastically encouraged my hairline to regrow itself with transplanted follicles. You guys keep on trying to make it out like that’s a cosmetic procedure.”
In this event, the “c’mon” was followed by: “You keep trying to make that case. I don’t consider any Trump supporter a threat to the country.”
“I do think anyone who calls for the use of violence, fails to condemn violence when it’s used, refuses to acknowledge when an election has been won, insists upon changing the way in which the rules — you count votes — that is a threat to democracy. Democracy,” he continued.
When he tells someone from Fox News “you keep trying to make that case,” what he means is that conservative media keep trying to make that case. The thing is, the person who made the case was Joe Biden. Just look at he transcript.
Yes, Biden made a distinction between “mainstream Republicans” that “I’ve been able to work with” and “MAGA Republicans” who “represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”
“But there is no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans, and that is a threat to this country,” Biden continued.
If so-called “MAGA Republicans” are threatening “the very foundations of our republic,” if “there is no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans” and if those individuals are voted into office by “Trump supporters,” do the math.
This is exactly what Biden said in his speech, despite his later protestations to the contrary.
Then again, he can perchance be forgiven for forgetting, if that were the case. Biden’s remarks on Thursday were less of a speech than a combination between a harangue and a primal scream; the president, frustrated by lack of progress and still likely to lose at least one house of Congress in the midterms, even if things don’t look as grim as they did a few weeks ago, seemed genuinely unhinged during the remarks.
It was like a frothing spouse during a nasty marital spat who insists, the morning after the argument, they didn’t call the other all the ugly things they called them. If played a recording of those remarks, they’d insist they didn’t mean it that way.
America, however, can’t be governed by marital spat. We’re a democracy, not a divorce-ocracy; this moment in history calls for the opposite of animosity and resentment, but that’s all the president seems to have in his bag of tricks.
Of course, the most likely reason for Biden’s erroneous claim that he doesn’t “consider any Trump supporter a threat to the country” is the obvious one: He thinks so little of us as a people he expects his supporters to buy the lie if they agree with him politically.
Not only that, he’s attempting to pin Doocy’s truth-telling on conservative media, too.
I suppose if his supporters will believe that, they’ll believe anything — even the handful who watched the speech.
Maybe especially them.
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