Biden criticizes “MAGA Republicans”, compares philosophy to “semi-fascism”

ROCKVILLE, Md. — President Biden urged Democrats Thursday to “vote to literally save democracy once again,” comparing Republican ideology to “semi-fascism” as he led a kickoff rally and fundraiser at Maryland 75 days from midterm. elections.

Addressing a packed crowd of thousands at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Biden said, “Your right to choose is on the ballot this year. The Social Security you paid from the time you got a job is on the ballot. The safety of your children from gun violence is on the ballot, and it’s not hyperbole: the very survival of our planet is on the ballot.”

“You have to choose,” Biden added. “Will we be a country that advances or a country that goes backwards?”

The events, in the safe Democratic suburbs of Washington, were meant to help Biden through what White House aides say will be an aggressive season to defend his political victories and help his party’s candidates. His goal is to turn months of gains into political energy, as Democrats have seen their hopes restored amid the burst of action that defines the legacy of Biden and Congress.

From bipartisan action on gun control, infrastructure, and domestic technology manufacturing to exclusive efforts by Democrats to address climate change and health care costs, Biden highlighted the achievements of the party’s unified but minimal control over Washington. And he tried to sharpen the contrast with Republicans, who once seemed poised for sizeable victories in November.

Just a few months ago, when inflation soared, Biden’s poll numbers worsened and his agenda stalled, Democrats were bracing for significant losses. But the intense reaction of voters to the Supreme Court decision annulment of Roe v. Wade and a productive summer on issues of central concern to Democrats make the party feel like it is finally on the offensive heading into the Nov. 8 vote, even as the president remains unpopular.

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President Biden during a Democratic National Committee rally at Richard Montgomery High School on August 25, 2022 in Rockville, Maryland.

Alex Brandon/AP


Before the rally, Biden raised about $1 million at an event with about 100 donors for the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Grassroots Victory Fund in the backyard of a luxurious Bethesda home.

After his speech at the rally, Biden hung out with the mostly maskless crowd for nearly 30 minutes, returning to the style of campaigning that had been disrupted for Democrats for more than two years by the covid-19 pandemic. The president, who was identified as a close contact of first lady Jill Biden on Wednesday when she was diagnosed with a “rebound” case of the virus, did not appear to cover her face as he posed for selfies and hugged her supporters.

Biden’s Thursday events come a day after the president moved to deliver on a long-delayed campaign promise to forgive federal student loans for low- and middle-income borrowers, a measure Democrats believe will encourage younger, Black and Latino voters.

However, Republicans saw their own political advantage in the measure and presented it as an unfair gift to would-be Democratic voters.

“President Biden’s inflation is crushing working families, and his response is to give even more government money to higher-paid elites,” said Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell. “The Democrats are literally using the money of working Americans to try to garner the enthusiasm of their political base.”

On Thursday, Biden expanded his effort to paint Republicans as the “ultra-MAGA” party, a reference to former President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan, opposing his agenda and embracing conservative ideological proposals, as well like Trump’s bogus policy. statements about the 2020 elections.

“What we are seeing now is either the beginning or the death knell of an extreme MAGA philosophy,” Biden told donors at the fundraiser. “It’s not just Trump, it’s the whole philosophy behind the… I’ll say something, it’s like semi-fascism.”

“I respect conservative Republicans,” Biden said later. “I don’t respect these MAGA Republicans.”

US President Biden attends a Democratic National Committee rally in Rockville, Maryland
President Biden during a Democratic National Committee rally at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Maryland on August 25, 2022.

JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS


The Republican National Committee called Biden’s comments “despicable.”

“Mr. Biden forced Americans out of their jobs, transferred money from working families to Harvard lawyers, and sent our country into a recession while families can’t afford gas and groceries,” spokesman Nathan Brand said. . “Democrats don’t care about Americans suffering, they never did.”

The president laid out a vision for the next two years if his party can retain control of Congress, notes Musadiq Bidar of CBS News.

“We will codify Roe v. Wade, we will ban assault weapons, we will protect Social Security and Medicare, we will pass universal pre-K, we will restore the child care tax credit, we will protect voting rights, I will pass election reform and I will make sure that nobody, nobody gets a chance to steal an election again,” Biden said, adding that his “completely different vision” is better for America.

The president said he is “determined to ban assault weapons” in this country and urged voters to ask all candidates if they would support such a ban, Bidar said. “If you’re not, we’re not going to vote for you. Period,” Biden said.

Since the June Supreme Court ruling that struck down women’s constitutional protections for abortion, Democrats have seen an increase in donations, polling and performance in special elections for open congressional seats. The latest came Tuesday in a swinging Hudson Valley district that, in a Republican wave year, should have been an easy win for the GOP. Instead, Democrat Pat Ryan, who campaigned on the platform of defending abortion rights, defeated Republican Marc Molinaro.

“MAGA Republicans have no idea about the power of women,” Biden said, noting the resonance of the abortion issue with women voters as some in the GOP push for a nationwide ban on the procedure. “Let me tell you something: they’re about to find out.”

The change is giving Democrats a new sense that a Republican victory in the House is no longer such a sure bet, particularly as battle-tested incumbents outvote Biden in their districts.

Democrats, meanwhile, have benefited from Republican candidates who won the primaries but struggled in the overall campaign.

Trump-backed Senate candidates have complicated the GOP’s chances in battleground states like Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona, while several Trump-aligned candidates in House races weren’t always the party’s first choice.

Trump’s grip on the Republican Party remains strong and may have even gotten stronger after FBI search of his home in Mar-a-Lago.

JB Poersch, chairman of the Senate Majority Project, an outside group working to elect Democrats to the Senate, said Republican candidates are “getting caught up in the Trump tornado once again, that’s exactly what voters of both parties don’t know. want.”

Biden’s political event, sponsored by the Democratic National Committee, comes as the president and members of his cabinet are set to embark on what the White House has billed as the “Building a Better America” ​​tour to promote ” the benefits of the presidency of the president”. achievements and the Inflation Reduction Act to the American people and highlight the contrast with the view of Republicans in Congress.

Meanwhile, the White House has benefited from a steady decline in gasoline prices, which, while still high, have fallen daily since mid-June.

“Our critics say inflation,” Biden said, dismissing attacks from the GOP that his policies caused inflation to hit its highest level in 40 years. “You mean global inflation caused by the global pandemic and Putin’s policy.” war in ukraine?”

In Maryland, Biden joined gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore and a host of other officials on the ballot. Moore, introducing Biden, said his Trump-backed rival “Dan Cox is not an opponent. He is a threat.”

Months ago, Democratic lawmakers facing tough re-election fights sought to make themselves scarce when Biden came to town, though White House aides said Biden could still be an asset by raising issues that resonate with voters and sharpen the distinction. with the Republicans.

Now, allies see fortunes beginning to turn and the president is more of a direct asset to campaigns.

“Joe Biden is not technically the ballot,” said House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland. “But Joe Biden is on the ballot and Joe Biden needs his support.”