In advance of his speech at the United Nations on Tuesday, President Joe Biden traveled to New York on Sunday and spent time at a fundraiser in a Broadway theater Monday night. In front of supporters there, he hammered at the threat Donald Trump presents to the nation's democracy.
“Let there be no question, Donald Trump and his MAGA Republicans are determined to destroy American democracy. And I will always defend, protect and fight for our democracy,” Biden said, according to the Associated Press.
CNN has more from the speech:
“I will not side with dictators like (Russian President Vladimir) Putin. Maybe Trump and his MAGA friends can bow down and praise him, but I won’t,” Biden said.
“I don’t believe America is a dark, negative nation, a nation of carnage driven by anger, fear and revenge. Donald Trump does,” he added later.
Citing Trump’s vow if reelection to act as “retribution” for his supporters, Biden asked: “Did you ever think you’d hear a president of the United States speak like that? Well, I believe we are a hopeful, optimistic nation driven by the proposition that everyone deserves a shot.”
CNN describes the speech as "some of his fiercest condemnation to date" of coup conspirator Trump, but none of Biden's remarks seem especially controversial. The AP itself has reported on Trump and his allies’ plan to overhaul the government on authoritarian premises. Trump has repeatedly told crowds he was their "retribution," including at a Waco, Texas, rally that coincided with the 30th anniversary of the deadly Branch Davidian standoff. On a fundamental level, one cannot plausibly argue that a man who organized a mob of known-violent supporters, refused to support their disarming, and had them march on the Capitol in an attempt to block the certification of his opponent's election victory is not a dangerous threat to democracy itself.
Trump is pressing for fascist revolution, and nothing Biden said at the fundraiser is false. But instead of acknowledging that, the media writes stories that play off the potential ensconcing of an authoritarian cultist as one of many competing election factors. Here's the AP's take:
It was the among the president’s strongest rebukes of the Republican front-runner and former president, who is facing criminal charges for his role in the effort to overturn the 2020 election. And it comes as the political pressure is ramping up from Republicans in the House who have opened an impeachment inquiry into Biden in an effort to tie him to his son Hunter’s business dealings and distract from Trump’s legal peril.
Biden said he wanted to send the “strongest and most powerful message possible, that political violence in America is never never never acceptable.”
What the hell is that?
On one hand, "criminal charges for [Trump's] role in the effort to overturn the 2020 election." On the other hand, Biden is facing an "impeachment inquiry"—one that has editorially been determined to be a House Republican attempt to "distract from Trump's legal peril," even as the reporting excludes the crucial detail that the allegations against Biden are, to all available evidence, utterly false.
CNN's version is no better. "Biden takes on Trump and age questions in new fundraiser speech," goes the article’s headline. The first paragraph focuses on Biden accusing Trump of being "determined to destroy democracy." But paragraph two brings us the apparently similarly important news that:
Biden also sought to rebut chronic questions about his age, claiming his long experience in Washington gave him the wisdom to steer the nation forward.
Ah. On the one hand, a potential end to democracy. And on the other, Biden referenced attacks on his age. You can see how both of those things would perk up political journalism's ears to roughly the same extent.
On the same day Biden made these remarks, we learned that Trump has been using classified documents as scratch paper to pass messages to his assistant. It's the sort of buffoonish incompetence or intentional criminality—it's unclear which—that should disqualify anyone from government service.
If press rooms can recognize that the House Republican "impeachment inquiry" of Biden is a straight-up attempt to "distract" from all the crimes Trump's accused of, then the rest of it should follow. That means the House Republican attempt is crooked. That means the party itself, or at least its most powerful members, are attempting themselves to subvert democracy by propagating hoaxes.
Follow the ball, here, reporters. Yes, we grant you that Biden is slightly older than his also-old opponent. But what is the thing future historians will be talking about when chronicling this election and its outcome? What are the threads that will be weaved together to explain these times, presuming a future Republican Party allows history books to accurately record them?
It isn't poll numbers on how many Americans think Joe Biden is old, CNN. It's not a few paragraphs tacked on about Biden's "tepid fundraising schedule," AP, after getting bored with Biden's warnings about our imperiled democracy a mere half-dozen paragraphs in. Figure this out.
Sign the petition: Trump attempted a coup on January 6. He is a clear & present danger to democracy
Trump used classified notecards to write to-do lists for his Mar-a-Lago assistant
Failure to televise Trump’s federal trials will unleash flood of MAGA conspiracy theories
The press needs to stop pretending Trump’s word salads amount to policy thoughts
Kerry talks with Drew Linzer, director of the online polling company Civiqs. Drew tells us what the polls say about voters’ feelings toward President Joe Biden and Donald Trump, and what the results would be if the two men were to, say … run against each other for president in 2024. Oh yeah, Drew polled to find out who thinks Donald Trump is guilty of the crimes he’s been indicted for, and whether or not he should see the inside of a jail cell.