- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 1, 2022

President Biden will warn that “MAGA forces are determined to take this country backward” during a prime-time speech Thursday in Philadelphia, launching the Democrats’ fall campaigns by smearing Republicans as anti-democratic extremists.

The White House billed Mr. Biden’s speech at the city’s Independence National Historical Park as his ongoing “battle for the soul of the nation.”

Mr. Biden will say Republicans will move the nation “backward 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,” according to excerpts of the speech released by the White House.

“For a long time, we’ve reassured ourselves that American democracy is guaranteed,” he will say. “But it is not. We have to defend it. Protect it. Stand up for it. Each and every one of us.”

Mr. Biden previously cited the violence at a 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, as spurring his run for president in 2020. He pledged during his White House campaign to be a unifying force and heal the nation’s soul.

Critics say Mr. Biden’s presidency has done little to unite the country, and many within the GOP warn that his rhetoric has become decidedly more divisive.

SEE ALSO: White House defends Biden rhetoric condemning ‘ultra-MAGA’ Republicans ahead of prime-time speech

The White House announced Mr. Biden’s speech in Philadelphia on the heels of his remarks at a Democratic fundraiser last week in which he described Republicans and Mr. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” agenda as “semi-fascism,” sparking a fierce backlash from GOP figures.

Mr. Biden has stood by the remarks.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that Mr. Biden “is never going to shy away from calling out what he sees,” despite growing criticism that his language attacking Republicans is divisive.

“Tonight I have come here to the place where it all began to speak plainly to the nation about the threats we face. About the power we have in our own hands to meet those threats,” Mr. Biden will say in Philadelphia. “And about the incredible future that lies in front of us if only we choose it.”

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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