Standing in front of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, President Joe Biden delivered a primetime speech Thursday, warning that a faction of extremist Republicans led by Donald Trump are a threat to democracy.

He empathically stated his duty as President is to protect and defend the Constitution and democracy, and urged all to “remember who we are” as Americans and do our own duty to protect democracy.

Here are highlights from the address:

On ‘MAGA Republicans’

  • Biden began by drawing attention to the patriotic setting and spoke of his love and respect for the Constitution. He then attacked his predecessor and those he termed “MAGA Republicans.”
  • “As I stand here tonight, equality and democracy are under assault. We do ourselves no favor to pretend otherwise. So tonight I’ve come to this place where it all began to speak as plainly as I can to the nation about the threats we face, about the power we have in our own hands to meet these threats, and about the incredible future that lies in front of us if only we choose it.”
  • Biden said that it’s impossible to be “pro-insurrectionist and pro-America.”
  • While making it clear that not every Republican supports or embraces extremism, Biden said that “there’s no question that the Republican party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the the MAGA Republicans.”
  • “MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution. They do not believe in the rule of law. They did not recognize the will of the people. They refused to accept the results of a free election and they’re working right now as I speak in state after state to give power to decide elections in America to partisans and cronies, empowering election deniers to undermine democracy itself. MAGA forces are determined to take the country backwards. Backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love.”
  • “You can’t love your country only when you win.”

On optimism for the future

  • The president referenced dark times such as the Great Depression and the Civil War He spoke of “proving that from from darkness, the darkness of Charlottesville, of COVID, of gun violence, of insurrection, we can see the light. Light is now visible. Light that will guide us forward. Not only in words, but in actions. Actions for you, for your children, for your grandchildren, for America.”

In closing

“I have no doubt, none, that this is who we will be and that we’ll come together as a nation that will secure our democracy. That for the next 200 years we’ll have what we had the past 200 years, the greatest nation on the face of the earth. We just need to remember who we are. We are the United States of America, the United States of America.”

Republican response

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, responded on Twitter, saying “there’s nothing wrong with America’s soul.”

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“Stop lecturing and change your policies before it’s too late.”

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