President Biden derided former President Donald Trump as a “loser” and called his bid for a political comeback something out of a “bad fairy tale” Friday — while comparing Biden’s own re-election candidacy to the heroic actions of George Washington and his troops in the Revolutionary War.
Biden, speaking near Washington’s 1777-1778 winter encampment at Valley Forge outside Philadelphia, claimed congressional Republicans supporting the 77-year-old Trump’s candidacy “abandoned democracy” after “we nearly lost America” during the Capitol riot of Jan. 6., 2021.
Valley Forge “tells the story of the pain and the suffering and the true patriotism it took to make America,” began Biden, 81. “Today, we gather in a new year, some 246 years later, just one day before January 6 — a date forever seared in our memory because it was on that day that we nearly lost America, lost it all.”
Backed by a cheering audience, Biden tore into Trump repeatedly during the roughly half-hour speech — accusing his predecessor of intentionally using the violence of the Capitol riot as a tactic to remain in power and even likening his rival — not for the first time — to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.
The incumbent slammed his likely rival for opening a campaign rally last year in Waco, Texas, by playing a rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by a prison choir of Jan. 6 rioters.
“Trump’s assault on democracy isn’t just part of his past, it’s what he’s promising for the future. He’s being straightforward. He’s not hiding the ball,” Biden said.
“His first rally for the 2024 campaign opened with a choir of January 6 insurrectionists singing from prison on a cellphone while images of the January 6 riot playing on the big screen behind him at his rally. Can you believe that? This was like something out of a fairy tale — a bad fairy tale.”
Biden used the patriotic setting to argue that his own candidacy would continue America’s founding traditions established by Washington, including his peaceful relinquishment of power after two terms as president.
The Democrat used a similar message to rally his party ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. Despite critics panning the emphasis as divisive, Democrats fared better than expected in congressional races.
“Let’s be clear about the 2020 election: Trump exhausted every legal avenue available to him to overturn the outcome — every one. But the legal path just took Trump back to the truth that I’d won the election and he was a loser,” Biden said to hoots and applause.
The president’s choice of the word “loser” was likely deliberate, due to its often-reported effect on the image-conscious former reality TV host and real estate developer.
“Well, knowing how his mind works, he had one act left, one desperate act available to him: the violence of January the 6th,” Biden said, “and since that day, more than 1,200 people have been charged for their assault on the Capitol, nearly 900 of them have been convicted or pled guilty.”
To more cheers, he added, “Collectively to date, they have been sentenced to more than 840 years in prison.”
No evidence has emerged that Trump had advance knowledge of plans for violence by some of his supporters during the congressional count of the Electoral College results.
In other comments Friday, Biden said Trump could bring the US into an era of dictatorship and that the leaders of other countries have told him “he can’t win” because “my country will be at risk.”
“He calls those who oppose him ‘vermin.’ He talks about the blood of Americans being poisoned, echoing the same exact language used in Nazi Germany. He proudly posted on social media the words that best describe his 2024 campaign, ‘revenge,’ ‘power,’ ‘dictatorship.’ There’s no confusion about who Trump is and what he intends to do,” Biden said.
“You can’t be pro-insurrectionist and pro-American,” the president added at one point — insisting that unlike Trump “our campaign is about preserving and strengthening our American democracy.”
“The protection and preservation of American democracy will remain as it has been the central cause of my presidency,” Biden went on before turning his wrath on Trump’s allies in Congress.
“As one Republican senator said, Trump’s behavior was embarrassing and humiliating for the country. Now that same senator and those same people have changed their tune,” Biden said
“As time has gone on politics, fear, money all have intervened and now these MAGA voices who know the truth about Trump on January 6 abandoned the truth and abandoned democracy. They made their choice, now the rest of us — Democrats, independents, mainstream Republicans — have to make our choice.
“I know mine and I believe I know America’s.”
The Biden Justice Department, through special counsel Jack Smith, is prosecuting Trump for his own actions to challenge the election, as well as for allegedly mishandling national security documents after leaving office.
Trump, who argues the cases brought by Smith are themselves anti-democratic, issued a prebuttal of Biden through his campaign, saying that Biden is the one who has acted against democratic norms, including by leaning on social media companies to censor political views.
Democrats are themselves guilty of “weaponizing the administrative state against a democratically elected president” by pursuing “partisan-driven Russia investigations,” the Trump campaign said, referring to the probes that consumed more than half of Trump’s presidency with a steady stream of links suggesting he conspired with the Kremlin in 2016.