Biden to speak on threats to democracy ahead of midterms

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally for Florida gubernatorial candidate Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., and Senate candidate Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., at Florida Memorial University, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Joe Biden will deliver remarks Wednesday evening on threats to democracy, as he seeks to raise the stakes for voters less than a week before the midterm elections.

Biden, who has repeatedly said that “democracy is on the ballot” on Nov. 8, will speak at 7 p.m. from Washington’s Union Station, blocks from the U.S. Capitol, the White House said.

“It’s from Capitol Hill, because that is where there was an attempt to subvert our democracy,” White House senior adviser Anita Dunn told Axios, referencing the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.

Previewing Biden’s remarks, Dunn said the Democratic president “will be very clear tonight that he is speaking to people who don’t agree with him on any issues, who don’t agree on his agenda, but who really can unite behind this idea of this fundamental value of democracy.”

“What we are seeing is an alarming number of Republican officials suggest they will not accept the results of this election,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Wednesday.

“This is not a regular moment in time,” she added. “He’s going to call it all out.”

The speech comes days after a man seeking to kidnap House Speaker Nancy Pelosi severely injured her husband, Paul Pelosi, in their San Francisco home and as threats of political violence have rattled members of Congress and election workers.

“The threat of political violence which most Americans find abhorrent, the idea that you would use violence to further your political means, it’s something that unites almost all Americans and that we can all be united against, and obviously, we’ve seen horrible things happen quite recently,” Dunn told Axios.

Biden last delivered a prime-time speech on what he called the “continued battle for the soul of the nation” on Sept. 1 outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia, in which he condemned the “MAGA forces” of former President Donald Trump and his adherents as a threat to America’s system of government.

“They promote authoritarian leaders, and they fan the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country,” he said.

The Wednesday remarks come as hundreds of candidates who have falsely denied the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election are on ballots across the country, with many poised to be elected to critical roles overseeing elections.

In contrast with the September remarks, which drew criticism from some corners for being paid for by taxpayers, Biden’s Wednesday speech will be 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.

Biden’s remarks come as many Americans remain pessimistic about the state of U.S. democracy. An October poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that just 9% of U.S. adults think democracy is working “extremely” or “very well,” while 52% say it’s not working well.

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