Biden warns a second Trump presidency will threaten democracy

‘There is something dangerous happening in America,’ US president says

Joe Biden raised the ante in the forthcoming United States presidential election campaign after he said the country’s character and future was threatened by the authoritarian values of Donald Trump, his likely opponent.

Declaring US history at “an inflection point”, the president said “there is something dangerous happening in America”, referring to Trump’s self-styled Make America Great Again (MAGA) campaign.

“There is an extremist movement that does not share the basic beliefs of our democracy: the MAGA movement. History has brought us to a new time of testing.

“All of us are being asked right now: What will we do to maintain our democracy?”


Biden was forced to pause early in the speech in Phoenix, Arizona, when a heckler interrupted to demand why he had not declared a climate emergency, according to reporters in the auditorium.

“If you shush up, I will meet with you immediately after this, okay?” the president responded. He then said, pointedly: “Democracy never is easy – as you just demonstrated.”

Referring to Trump by name just once in his half-hour speech, Biden nevertheless set out to contrast democratic norms and traditions with conduct that appeared to characterise his predecessor.

Democracy, he said, “means rule of the people, not rule of the monarchy, not rule of money, not rule of the mighty.

“Regardless of party, that means free and fair elections, respecting the outcome, win or lose. It means you cannot love your country only when you win.

“Democracy means rejecting and repudiating political violence. Regardless of party, such violence is never, never, never acceptable in America. It’s undemocratic and it must never be normalised to gain political power.”

The last comments were an apparent reference to the January 6th, 2021, attack on Capitol Hill by Trump supporters.

Despite the Republican’s failure to overturn the 2020 election result, Biden warned that the danger had not passed. “Today, democracy is still at risk. This is not hyperbole. It’s a simple truth,” he said.

The threat of violence continued unabated, he said, most recently aimed at general Mark Milley, the chair of the US armed forces joint chiefs of staff, whom Trump recently said in a social media post was guilty of “treason”.

“Frankly, these MAGA extremists have no idea what the hell they’re talking about,” Biden said.

The president has reportedly been regularly portraying Trump as a threat to democracy to donors at events to raise funds for next year’s election. Thursday’s speech was the first time he had done so publicly since before last year’s congressional midterm elections and indicated that he intended to make the theme a central presidential campaign issue. – The Guardian