- The Washington Times - Monday, September 5, 2022

MILWAUKEE — President Biden used a Labor Day campaign speech to hurl continued vitriol at former President Donald Trump and his supporters, telling rallygoers in Wisconsin on Monday that “MAGA Republicans” post a threat to their personal and financial freedoms.

In a part victory-lap and part campaign-rally speech for Democratic candidates, Mr. Biden doubled down on his claim that the Trump-wing of the party supports “semi-fascism” and is unrelated to traditional conservatives with whom he served in Congress.

“Not every Republican is a MAGA Republican. Not every Republican embraces that extreme ideology. I know because I’ve been able to work with mainstream Republicans my whole career,” he said. “But the extreme MAGA Republicans in Congress have chosen to go backwards full of anger, violence, hate and division. But together we can, and we must choose a different path: Forward.”

Mr. Biden continued: “Extreme MAGA Republicans don’t just threaten our personal rights and our economic security. They embrace political violence.”

The president’s combative speech came in the wake of his prime-time address last week in Philadelphia, where he said that Mr. Trump and his supporters posed a threat to democracy.

Those remarks prompted widespread condemnation from the GOP as both groundless and as sowing the very division Mr. Biden claims to decry.

SEE ALSO: Vulnerable House Dems strike a conservative note, distance themselves from their party

Speaking in Milwaukee, Mr. Biden also repeatedly took aim at Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, an ardent Republican backer of Mr. Trump.

The Wisconsin Republican is facing a difficult reelection battle against Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, a Democrat.

The race, considered a toss-up by nonpartisan election forecasters, is crucial for Republicans to win if they are to retake control of the evenly split chamber.

“To this day, MAGA Republicans in Congress defend the mob that stormed the Capitol. And people died. Sen. Johnson said it was by and large a peaceful protest,” Mr. Biden said. “There’s no democracy where you can be pro-insurrection and pro-democracy.”

The president then doubled down again, saying that he wasn’t being metaphorical in his claim that democracy itself is on the ballot this November.

“So when I say that democracy is at stake, I mean what I’m saying. Literally. You can’t say support law enforcement and call the people who attack the police on Jan. 6 ‘patriots,’” he said.

The president also used the opportunity to tout several recent legislative victories, some of which Republicans opposed.

He hailed a bipartisan law to boost the domestic chip-manufacturing industry, the health care and tax components of Democrats’ massive Inflation Reduction Act, and his party’s support for unions.

Mr. Biden highlighted his pro-union stance and a recent Gallup poll showing the highest support for labor unions since 1965.

He also slammed a plan put forward earlier this year by the GOP lawmaker who leads the Senate Republicans’ election efforts — Sen. Rick Scott of Florida — as a threat to Social Security because it would require the program to be reauthorized by Congress every five years.

“The biggest contrast from what MAGA Republicans — the extreme right, the Trumpies — these MAGA Republicans in Congress are coming for your Social Security,” Mr. Biden said. “You might think I’m making this stuff up, it’s so outrageous.”

The president was scheduled to travel to Pennsylvania to give a second Labor Day speech in another battleground state. He is expected to deliver similar remarks during his address in Pittsburgh.

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

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

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