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Is it wise for Biden to call out ‘MAGA extremism’?
Mike Bebernes·Senior Editor
Mon, September 5, 2022 at 8:47 AM
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On Thursday night, President Biden gave a fiery speech in front of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall in which he denounced “extreme MAGA ideology” and argued that former President Donald Trump and his followers “represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”
Biden's remarks were the most forceful criticism yet of the election denial that has become a cornerstone of the MAGA movement — an acronym for Trump’s signature slogan “Make America Great Again” — since Trump’s loss in the 2020 election.
For most of his first year in office, Biden shied away from directly discussing Trump, often referring to him only as “the former guy.” But more recently, Biden has adopted a new approach, choosing to aggressively rebuke Trump's conspiracies about the 2020 race and ongoing efforts to elect Republicans to key offices who could put the integrity of future elections at risk.
“And they’re working right now, as I speak, in state after state, to give power to decide elections in America to partisans and cronies, empowering election deniers to undermine democracy itself,” he said Thursday night.
Biden's speech came a week after he referred to the “MAGA philosophy” as “semi-fascism” at a donor event in Maryland.
Why there’s debate
Biden’s speech and his previous comments unsurprisingly sparked uproar among Trump-supporting Republicans and allies in far-right media. But even among those who accept the results of the 2020 election and worry about the threat the MAGA movement may pose to future races, there’s debate about whether the president’s aggressive denunciations are an appropriate response.
A number of moderate politicians from both parties and centrist media members have criticized Biden’s “divisive” rhetoric. Maryland’s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has accused Biden of contributing to “toxic politics'' that's at the root of the nation’s intense partisan divisions. Others argue that using words like fascism