Biden warns democracy is at stake in US midterm elections, urges voters to reject violence – National

After weeks of reassuring talks on the US economy and inflation, US President Joe Biden delivered a darker and more urgent message on Wednesday evening, warning in the final days of the midterm election vote that democracy itself is threatened by the lies of former President Donald Trump. and the violence he said they inspire.

Pointing in particular to the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, he said Trump’s misrepresentations about a stolen election have « fueled the dangerous rise in political violence and voter intimidation over the past the past two years ».

Six days before the big midterm elections, Biden said, “As I stand here today, there are candidates at every level of office in America, for governor, for Congress, for the Attorney General, for the Secretary of State, who will not commit to accepting the results of the elections in which they participate.

« It’s the path to chaos in America, » he said. » This is unheard of. It’s illegal. And it’s not American.

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The president, who has focused on drawing an economic contrast between the Democrats and the GOP, shone the spotlight on the “ultra MAGA” Republicans – a reference to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan – the calling it a minority but the « driving force » of the Republican Party.

Highlighting growing concerns about political violence as well as threats from America’s long tradition of hard-fought but peaceful and accurate elections, he said these Republicans are « trying to succeed where they failed in 2020 to take away voters’ rights and overthrow the electoral system ». himself.

The speech came days after a man seeking to kidnap Speaker Pelosi seriously injured her husband, Paul Pelosi, in their San Francisco home and physical threats rocked members of Congress and election officials .

“There is an alarming increase in the number of people in this country who are tolerating political violence or simply remaining silent,” Biden said. « Silence is complicity. »

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Stressing that this is the first federal election since the Jan. 6, 2021, uprising and Trump’s attempts to subvert voters’ wills in the 2020 presidential election, Biden called on voters to reject candidates who denied the results of the vote – which even the Trump administration has said was free from widespread fraud or interference.

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Biden asked voters to « think long and hard about where we stand. »

“In a typical year, we are not often faced with the question of whether the vote we cast will preserve democracy or endanger it,” he said. « But we are this year. »

Biden delivered his remarks from Washington’s Union Station, blocks from the US Capitol, the White House said, just six days before polls closed on November 8 and when more than 27 million Americans have already vote.

« It’s coming from Capitol Hill, because that’s where there was an attempt to subvert our democracy, » senior White House adviser Anita Dunn told Axios, referring to the attack on the January 6.

« The threat of political violence that most Americans find abhorrent, the idea that you would use violence to further your political means, is something that unites almost all Americans and against which we can all be united, and obviously we’ve seen some horrible things happen fairly recently,” Dunn said.

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Previewing Biden’s remarks, she said the Democratic president « will be very clear tonight that he’s talking to people who disagree with him on every issue, who disagree on its programme, but who can really unite behind this idea of ​​this fundamental value of democracy.

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« What we’re seeing is an alarming number of Republican officials suggesting they won’t accept the results of this election, » White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

« It’s not a regular moment in time, » she added. « He’ll say it all. »

Ahead of Biden’s speech, U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said he had reviewed the attack on Pelosi’s husband and believed the current political climate demands more resources and a better security for members of Congress after a massive increase in threats against lawmakers after Jan. 6. He also made a rare call to stop the spiteful conspiracy talk that swirled around the attack.

« Our brave men and women are working around the clock to carry out this urgent mission in this time of division, » he said in a statement. « In the meantime, one important change that will have an immediate impact will be for people across the country to turn the heat on political rhetoric down before it’s too late. »

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Biden last gave a prime-time speech on what he called the “continuing battle for the soul of the nation” on Sept. 1 outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia, in which he condemned the “forces MAGA” of Donald Trump and his supporters as a threat to the American system of government.

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“They promote authoritarian leaders and fan the flames of political violence that threaten our personal rights, the pursuit of justice, the rule of law, the very soul of this country,” Biden said then.

The new remarks come as hundreds of candidates who have falsely denied the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election are on the ballots across the country, many of whom are set to be elected to critical supervisory positions. elections.

Click to play video: 'Biden says he wants to 'restore the soul of the nation'

Biden says he wants to ‘restore the soul of the nation’

Unlike September’s remarks, which drew criticism in some corners for being paid for by taxpayers, Biden’s Wednesday night speech is hosted by the Democratic National Committee.

“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,” the DNC said.

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Many Americans remain pessimistic about the state of American democracy. An October poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that only 9% of adults think democracy works ‘extremely’ or ‘very well’, while 52% say it doesn’t. good.

AP writer Seung Min Kim contributed.


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