President Joe Biden addresses Democratic rally ahead of midterm elections, with the party suddenly optimistic that recent policy wins will help dodge a thumping by Republicans.
President Joe Biden has called on Democrats "to vote to literally save democracy once again" — and compared Republican ideology to "semi-fascism" — as he led a kickoff rally and a fundraiser in Maryland 75 days out from the midterm elections.
Addressing an overflow crowd of thousands at Montgomery High School in Rockville on Thursday, Biden said: "Your right to choose is on the ballot this year. The Social Security you paid for from the time you had a job is on the ballot. The safety of your kids from gun violence is on the ballot, and it's not hyperbole, the very survival of our planet is on the ballot."
"You have to choose," Biden added. "Will we be a country that moves forward or a country that moves backward?"
The events, in the safely Democratic Washington suburbs, were meant to ease Biden into what White House aides say will be an aggressive season of championing his policy victories and aiding his party’s candidates.
He is aiming to turn months of accomplishments into political energy as Democrats have seen their hopes rebound amid the legacy-defining burst of action by Biden and Congress.
From bipartisan action on gun control, infrastructure and domestic technology manufacturing to Democrats-only efforts to tackle climate crisis and health care costs, Biden highlighted the achievements of the party’s unified but razor-thin control of Washington.
Republicans call Biden's comments 'despicable'
And he tried to sharpen the contrast with Republicans, who once seemed poised for sizable victories in November.
Biden on Thursday expanded on his effort to paint Republicans as the "ultra-MAGA" party — a reference to former president Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" campaign slogan — opposing his agenda and embracing conservative ideological proposals as well as Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election.
"What we're seeing now is either the beginning or the death knell of an extreme MAGA philosophy," Biden told donors at the fundraiser.
"It's not just Trump, it’s the entire philosophy that underpins the — I'm going to say something, it’s like semi-fascism."
"I respect conservative Republicans," Biden said later. "I don’t respect these MAGA Republicans."
The Republican National Committee called Biden's comments "despicable."
"Biden forced Americans out of their jobs, transferred money from working families to Harvard lawyers, and sent our country into a recession while families can’t afford gas and groceries," said spokesperson Nathan Brand.
"Democrats don’t care about suffering Americans — they never did."