Maga Republicans upset by Biden speech accusing them of undermining democracy

US president lambasted Donald Trump and his supporters for 'extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic'

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US President Joe Biden has delivered his strongest language yet against the right-wing political movement that fuelled his predecessor Donald Trump's rise to power.

In a primetime speech on Thursday, Mr Biden condemned Mr Trump and his Make America Great Again — or Maga — supporters, urging Americans to stand against the movement he said threatens the fabric of democracy in the US.

The Maga movement has largely rejected Mr Biden's presidential win and fuelled the unprecedented and deadly January 6 assault on the US Capitol, during which pro-Trump rioters demanded Congress overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

“They promote authoritarian leaders and they fan the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country,” Mr Biden said.

Reactions from the US far-right were swift, ranging from calling Mr Biden a hypocrite to peddling bizarre conspiracy theories over satanic cabals in Washington.

Mr Trump's former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany live-tweeted her reactions throughout the address.

She joined many Republicans who claimed Mr Biden's rhetoric was hypocritical, as it was the strongest condemnation of Trumpism yet while it also called for unity to “heal the soul of the nation”.

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee also called out the president's stated aim of promoting unity.

But many on the right took the criticism in a more conspiratorial direction.

Top US Twitter trends on Friday included “Pure Evil” and “PedoHitler”. Right-wing and QAnon conspiracists often claim, without evidence, that Democrats abuse children.

The red-and-black imagery behind Mr Biden also prompted derision, with some saying it was akin to Nazi imagery.

Marjorie Taylor Greene, an extreme right-wing congresswoman from Georgia, shared a doctored video that put an Adolph Hitler-style moustache on Mr Biden and dubbed an apparent Nazi speech over the president's warnings of rising authoritarianism in the Republican Party.

The tweet from the sitting member of Congress was considered so sensitive that Twitter issued a warning over the faked video.

JD Vance, the Trump-backed Republican senatorial candidate in Ohio, nudged at the sentiment without taking on the same extreme language in his reaction.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has been noticeably quiet.

Far-right figures in the party have recently called Mr McConnell “treasonous” for his comments in August in which he said that “candidate quality” could harm the Republican chances of retaking the Senate in the coming midterms.

Adam Kinzinger, one of the few outspokenly anti-Trump Republicans in Congress who also sits on the January 6 investigative committee, shared a post that defended Mr Biden's speech and mocked the “Maga” reaction.

Trump-backed Republicans have repeated his false claims about the 2020 election being “stolen” and some have indicated they would be willing to overturn future electoral results.

Mr Trump has been under investigation for several potential crimes since he left office, including over his role in the deadly violence on January 6 and the recent discovery of his possession of top secret government documents at his private residence Mar-a-Lago.

Updated: September 06, 2022, 7:55 AM
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