President Biden on Friday said he does not view supporters of former President Trump as a threat to the country, one day after he delivered a speech describing “MAGA Republicans” as a danger to democracy and the soul of the nation.
“I don’t consider any Trump supporter to be a threat to the country,” Biden told reporters when asked about the distinction. “I do think anyone who calls for the use of violence, fails to condemn violence when it’s used, refuses to acknowledge an election has been won, insists upon changing the way in which we rule and count votes, that is a threat to democracy.”
“People voted for Donald Trump and support him now, they weren’t voting for attacking the Capitol. They weren’t voting for overruling an election. They were voting for a philosophy he put forward,” Biden added.
Biden said he was specifically speaking about those who seek to cast doubt on elections or who fail to condemn violence.
The president on Thursday night tied Trump and other so-called MAGA Republicans to corrosive ideas like casting doubt on election results, spreading conspiracy theories and attacking law enforcement.
“Not every Republican, not even a majority of Republicans, are MAGA Republicans. Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology,” he said. “But there’s no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans. And that is a threat to this country.”
The president has faced criticism from Republicans, who, in the wake of his speech, accused Biden of being the “divider-in-chief” and broadly painting those who support Trump as a danger to democracy.
“That was a campaign speech under the guise of a presidential address,” Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), who is considered a potential 2024 presidential candidate, tweeted.