Biden slams Trump as ‘sick, loser’ echoing Nazi Germany as campaign turns virulent | World News - Hindustan Times
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Biden slams Trump as ‘sick, loser’ echoing Nazi Germany as campaign turns virulent

By, Washington
Jan 09, 2024 06:56 AM IST

Biden termed Trump’s attempts “to overturn a free and fair election by force and violence” following his defeat, “among the worst derelictions of duty by a president in American history”

Nearly three years after a mob attacked the US Capitol to block the peaceful transfer of power, US President Joe Biden on Friday launched his campaign for the upcoming presidential elections with a direct and fierce attack on Donald Trump, making the protection of democracy and rejection of political violence its central theme.

US President Joe Biden delivers a speech to mark the third anniversary of the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol at a campaign event at Montgomery County Community College, in Blue Bell, near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, on Friday . (REUTERS)
US President Joe Biden delivers a speech to mark the third anniversary of the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol at a campaign event at Montgomery County Community College, in Blue Bell, near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, on Friday . (REUTERS)

Evoking George Washington for whom the fight against British Empire in the quest for American freedom and democracy was a “sacred cause”, Biden warned voters in the November elections that said that they had “nearly lost America” on January 6, 2021, when supporters of former president Trump had stormed the Capitol building — the seat of the US Congress — in a bid to stop Biden’s certification as the winner of the 2020 elections.

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“This is not rhetorical, academic, or hypothetical. Whether democracy is still America’s sacred cause is the most urgent question of our time, and it’s what the 2024 election is all about,” he said. “America, as we begin this election year, we must be clear: Democracy is on the ballot. Your freedom is on the ballot.”

Biden termed Trump’s attempts “to overturn a free and fair election by force and violence” following his defeat, including by encouraging the rioters as they attacked the Capitol, “among the worst derelictions of duty by a president in American history”.

“Trump exhausted every legal avenue available to him to overturn the election — every one. But the legal path just took Trump back to the truth that I had won the election and he was a loser…Now, in 2024, Trump in running as the denier-in-chief — the election denier-in-chief,” he said.

Over the course of his nearly 35-minute speech, Biden lambasted Trump for refusing to follow the Constitution; encouraging political violence and celebrating January 6 insurrectionists even in his current campaign; promising “revenge and retribution” and putting forward a policy agenda of overturning federal rules, regulations and even articles of the Constitution; using language that echoes Nazi Germany; expressing admiration for authoritarian leaders, including North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin; seeing politics as an “all-out war” rather than as a method of peacefully resolving differences; leading the Make America Great Again (MAGA) extremist agenda; and refusing to say that he will accept the results if he loses the elections this year.

Biden’s speech was carefully curated with the incumbent president speaking at Pennsylvania’s Valley Forge, which holds an important place in the US war of independence. The date of the speech was also significant because of the multiple legal challenges Trump faces for his role in the insurrection, including a criminal indictment in Georgia for attempting to subvert the results, and a federal indictment for his role in both subverting results and then encouraging the mob which attacked the Capitol. Trump’s actions have also impacted his candidacy itself with the states of Colorado and Maine blocking him from the Republican primary ballots on the grounds that he was an insurrectionist — decisions the US Supreme Court is expected to rule on in February.

Biden used his speech to underline Trump’s centrality in what happened on January 6, claiming, “Trump’s mob wasn’t a peaceful protest. It was a violent assault. They were insurrectionists, not patriots. They weren’t there to uphold the Constitution; they were there to destroy the Constitution. Trump won’t do what an American president must do. He refuses to denounce political violence…You can’t be pro-insurrectionist and pro-American.”

Biden claimed that America was exceptional because it was founded not on ethnicity or geography or religion, but on the idea that all its inhabitants were equal. He contrasted this with the vision of “dictatorship” that Trump, Biden claimed, had quite clearly spelt out as his agenda.

“The choice is clear. Donald Trump’s campaign is about him, not America, not you. Donald Trump’s campaign is obsessed with the past, not the future. He’s willing to sacrifice our democracy, put himself in power,” the Democratic president said.

The overall timing and thrust of the speech was clearly a way for the Biden team to recover lost ground and remind voters that irrespective of the policies on which they may disagree with him, the much bigger task of preserving American democracy was at stake. The president is under tremendous political strain due to low favourability ratings, a Congress that is unwilling to support Ukraine in pushing back the Russian invasion, a spiraling immigration crisis on the southern border, a perception that economy isn’t doing well, and Israel’s brutal war against Gaza which is also fracturing the Democratic coalition. Besides, as all things stand, the elections are set to be a Biden-Trump rematch, in which the latter holds a slight lead — 39%-37%, according to USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll published on January 3.

“MAGA voices who know the truth about Trump on January 6th have abandoned the truth and abandoned democracy. They made their choice. Now the rest of us — Democrats, independents, mainstream Republicans — we have to make our choice,” Biden said.The 2024 Democratic primary schedule begins next month with South Carolina, which gave Biden his first win in the 2020 primaries. The party expects his victory there to serve as a beacon for voter support for his re-election.

Trump on Friday mocked Biden’s criticisms at a rally in Iowa , which will hold the first Republican primary caucus on January 15 and where he is leading comfortably. He called Biden’s rally a “pathetic fear-mongering campaign event” and attacked him for “abusing” Washington’s legacy. He also alleged that Biden was a threat to democracy.

“They have weaponised government, and he is saying I am a threat to democracy,” Trump said, reiterating a claim that his Republican Party has been making as a defence for the multiple cases against Trump.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Prashant Jha is the Washington DC-based US correspondent of Hindustan Times. He is also the editor of HT Premium. Jha has earlier served as editor-views and national political editor/bureau chief of the paper. He is the author of How the BJP Wins: Inside India's Greatest Election Machine and Battles of the New Republic: A Contemporary History of Nepal.

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