Republicans say President Joe Biden’s speech Thursday widened political division in the country and maligned millions of Americans.
Speaking in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the president said America’s democratic values are under attack by extremists loyal to former President Donald Trump. He called the upcoming midterm elections a “battle for the soul of this nation.”
“Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal,” Biden said. “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”
MAGA Republicans, he said, don’t respect the Constitution, don’t believe in the rule of law and refused to accept the results of a free election.
Utah GOP Sen. Mike Lee, a staunch Trump supporter who explored avenues to overturn the 2020 presidential election, responded to the speech with a sarcastic tweet, “Joe Biden = such a uniter.”
In an Instagram video summing up his week, Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, said the low for him was Biden’s speech.
“What a perfect time to try to unite. An individual president who promised in his campaign to unite, continues to divide and drive that wedge even deeper,” Curtis said, adding the president is not providing the type of leadership he promised.
Republicans, including members of Utah’s all-GOP congressional delegation, have said since Biden took office that he has failed to keep his promise to be a president for all Americans, something the president repeated Thursday.
“But I’m an American president — not the president of red America or blue America, but of all America,” he said.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, tweeted one word “unity” with a photo of Biden raising both fists during the speech.
Biden said not every Republican embraces extreme ideology and that he has been able to work with “mainstream” Republicans in Congress.
“But there is no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans, and that is a threat to this country,” he said.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Biden owes the country an apology.
“Instead of trying to bring our country together to solve the MANY problems he has created, President Biden has chosen to divide, demean, and disparage his fellow Americans— simply because they disagree with his policies,” he tweeted.
“Mr. President: you owe millions of Americans an apology.”
McCarthy said Biden doesn’t understand the soul of America.
“It’s the tens of millions of hard-working people, loving families, and law-abiding citizens whom he vilified — simply for wanting a stronger, safer, and more prosperous country,” he tweeted.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said there’s nothing wrong with the soul of America. People are hurting because of the president’s policies, he said, adding in a tweet, “Stop lecturing & change your policies before it’s too late.”
With all due respect Mr. President, there’s nothing wrong with America’s soul.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) September 2, 2022
The American people are hurting because of your policies.
Out of control crime.
Terrorism on the rise.
Stop lecturing & change your policies before it’s too late.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Biden “vilified” millions of Americans in a “divisive and angry” speech that was detached from the reality of his political failures.
“He isn’t actually interested in restoring the soul of the nation, he’s only interested pitting his fellow Americans against one another,” Cruz tweeted.
Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, said, “Joe Biden is the divider-in-chief and epitomizes the current state of the Democrat Party — one of divisiveness, disgust and hostility towards half the country.”