- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 4, 2022

The top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee said Sunday that President Biden’s prime-time address alleging former President Donald Trump and his supporters are a threat to democracy was “a slap in the face” to Americans.

“Saying that Republicans are a threat to democracy is really a slap in the face,” Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas told ABC’s “This Week.” “He’s teeing up who the enemy is in his view, and that’s 70 million Americans. But it’s under the guise of a speech that’s to unite the nation, and I don’t think he succeeded in that.”

Mr. Biden’s speech in Philadelphia on Thursday, in which he said “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic,” marked a stark shift in tone for the president ahead of the November midterm elections.

His remarks sparked a firestorm from Republicans, who say the president’s “divisive” rhetoric was counter to his campaign pledge to unify the country.

Mr. Trump accused his successor in a Pennsylvania campaign rally Saturday of deploying “the most vicious, hateful and divisive speech ever delivered by an American president.”

When pressed about polling that shows many GOP voters do not believe Mr. Biden was legitimately elected, Mr. McCaul suggested the temperature needs to be toned down on both sides of the aisle.

“We know the rhetoric on both sides has been heightened,” he said. “I wish the president could have been more like Abraham Lincoln who … did not condemn the Democrats in the South in that time. He actually brought them into the tent, and I think that would be the mission I would advise for the president.”

• Ramsey Touchberry can be reached at rtouchberry@washingtontimes.com.

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