Democrats have been waiting for a year for President Biden to call out former President Trump for his claims about the 2020 presidential election and pinpoint the role Trump played in instigating his followers to “fight like hell” to contest the result.
Standing in the Capitol on Thursday, Biden finally did just that.
A widespread sentiment among Democrats has been that Biden hasn’t been hard enough on Trump as the former president relentlessly accuses Democrats of rigging the election and making repeated claims about widespread voter fraud in which a variety of legal maneuvers and state certifications have failed to prove.
Biden accused the former president of putting his personal interests ahead of the country, promoting a “network of lies” that lay the stage for the Capitol attack, and posing a clear threat to democracy on Thursday.
“It was one of Biden’s strongest speeches,” Democratic strategist Eddie Vale said. “He struck the ideal mix between recalling the losses of the day while plainly and frankly explaining who was responsible for the assault and that they’re continuing their efforts to this day.”
While Democrats applauded Biden’s remarks, Republicans and conservative critics criticized them as divisive.
Biden’s statements, according to Doug Heye, a Republican strategist and former spokesperson for the Republican National Committee, will resonate with Democrats but not with independents or Republican supporters who recognize his election.
“The less political it is, the better for Biden,” Heye remarked, “and this was political.” “It’s unclear what Biden was intending to achieve or what his goal was by going after Trump today and doing it as fiercely as he did.” It surely does not bring the temperature down.”
Following his speech, Biden told reporters that he avoided mentioning Trump by name because he “did not want to turn it into a modern political issue.”