Biden to deliver speech on democracy as midterms enter final stretch

Washington — President Biden is poised to deliver a speech on Wednesday night centered on democracy with the midterm elections now less than one week away, two of his top White House aides said.

Jen O’Malley Dillon, the White House deputy chief of staff, said during an event hosted by Axios that Mr. Biden will reiterate his warning that democracy is at stake this election cycle and that “everyone has a role in that.”

“I think the other thing that will be really important, and something you heard from President Biden in 2020, was that people are going to be able to vote. Over 25 million already have. They are voting all across the country,” she said. “In some places where we will have a lot of attention focused, the votes will be counted and take a few days to be counted, because that’s how democracy works, to make sure every vote is counted. So he’ll highlight that as well.”

The White House confirmed Mr. Biden will participate in a “political event” for the Democratic National Committee at Union Station on Capitol Hill in Washington at 7 p.m.

Anita Dunn, a senior adviser to Mr. Biden, said at the Axios event that Capitol Hill was chosen as the setting for the speech because of the violent attack on the nearby Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021, during which a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters attempted to “subvert our democracy.”

“On Jan. 6 we saw violence geared towards subverting democratic processes there, so it is an appropriate place to make these remarks tonight,” she said. “And political violence, the threat of political violence, which most Americans find abhorrent, the idea that you would use violence to further your political means, you know, it’s something that unites almost all Americans, and that we can all be united against.”

Dunn highlighted the attack last week on Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at their San Francisco home as an example of the “horrible” violence that has transpired recently. Pelosi was assaulted with a hammer and is recovering in a San Francisco hospital. The suspect in the assault, who law enforcement identified as David DePape, pleaded not guilty to numerous state charges, including attempted murder, on Tuesday. DePape also faces federal charges of assault on the immediate family member of a federal official and attempted kidnapping of a federal official. 

The future of American democracy and threats to it have been a theme in several of Mr. Biden’s speeches, and he has grown more vocal in naming what he believes are the partisan forces that threaten the nation’s democratic values.

The president in September delivered a primetime address from Independence Hall in Philadelphia criticizing the so-called “MAGA Republicans” who hold beliefs that run counter to democratic values.

Mr. Biden’s speech comes as the midterm elections enter the final stretch, with Democrats hoping to maintain their control of the House and Senate. But recent CBS News polls show Republicans in a good position to win a majority of seats in the House, as voters worry about the economy and continuing inflation, as well as a volatile stock market.

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