The “extreme ideology” of Donald Trump and his followers “threatens the very foundation of our republic,” US President Joe Biden said in a primetime address on Thursday.
He summoned Americans of all stripes to help counter what he pegged as "dark forces" within the Republican Party trying to subvert democracy.
The speech at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall comes barely two months before Americans head to the polls in bitterly-contested midterm elections that Biden calls a "crossroads" for the nation.
“Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal,” he said, raising his voice over pro-Trump hecklers outside the building where the nation’s founding was debated.
He said he was not condemning the 74 million people who voted for Trump in 2020, but added, "there’s no question that the Republican Party today is dominated by Donald Trump and the MAGA [Make America Great Again] Republicans”.
Biden, who largely avoided even referring to “the former guy” by name during his first year in office, has grown increasingly vocal in calling out Trump personally.
Now, emboldened by his party’s summertime legislative wins and wary of Trump’s return to the headlines, he has sharpened his attacks, last week likening the “MAGA philosophy” to “semi-fascism”.
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy responded by the Democratic president was trying to divide Americans.
“In the past two years, Joe Biden has launched an assault on the soul of America, on its people, on its laws, on its most sacred values,” he said.
“He has launched an assault on our democracy. His policies have severely wounded America’s soul, diminished America’s spirit and betrayed America’s trust.”
Trump is poised to hold his own rally in Pennnsylvania this weekend.