VALLEY FORGE, Pa. — President Joe Biden held his first major campaign event of 2024 on Friday, taking aim at former President Donald Trump, calling him a threat to democracy if he returns to the White House.
Speaking near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, Biden delivered an impassioned speech, marking his strongest public rebukes of the former president yet, slamming his Republican rival policies as an “assault on democracy” and threats to American institutions.
“I’ll say what Donald Trump won’t: Political violence is never, ever acceptable in the United States,” Biden said. “It has no place in democracy. None.”
The speech served as the chance to showcase the choice for voters later this year, detailing how he believes focusing on defending democracy is a central theme for his campaign.
Biden was directly involved in writing the speech this week, according to sources familiar with the situation. He said Trump and far-right extremists are a threat and a danger to the country.
“Today, I make this sacred pledge to you, the defense, protection, and preservation of American democracy will remain, as it has been, the central cause of my presidency. America, as we begin this election year, we must be clear, democracy is on the ballot. Your freedom is on the ballot,” Biden said.
“We all know who Donald Trump is,” he added later. “The question we have to answer is who are we?”
“Today we are here to answer the most important of questions: Is democracy still America’s ‘sacred cause’?” he continued. “This is not rhetorical, academic, or hypothetical. Whether democracy’s still America’s ‘sacred cause’ is the most urgent question of our time. And it’s what the 2024 election is all about.”
Biden said that Trump is “trying to steal history the same way he tried to steal the election.”
Trump, who faces 91 criminal charges from his actions leading up to and on the day of the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, claims Biden and the Democrats are the ones who are attempting undermine democracy by using the legal system to jail him.
“Donald Trump’s campaign is about him,” Biden said. “Donald Trump’s campaign is obsessed with the past, not the future. He’s willing to sacrifice our democracy, put himself in power.”
Biden’s speech was originally scheduled to take place on Saturday, but was moved to Friday because of an impending winter storm over the weekend along the East Coast.
“Now these MAGA voices who know the truth about Trump on January 6th have abandoned the truth and abandoned democracy,” he said. “They made their choice. Now the rest of us — Democrats, Independents, mainstream Republicans — we have to make our choice.”