Headline RoundupSeptember 29th, 2023

Biden Says Trump and ‘MAGA Extremists’ Threaten Democracy in Speech Honoring McCain

Summary from AllSides News Team

In a Thursday speech, President Joe Biden again framed former President Donald Trump and “MAGA extremists” as intimidating the Republican Party and threatening democratic institutions. 

Key Quote: “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans are determined to destroy American democracy because they want to break down institutional structures,” Biden said, echoing his 2022 speech in front of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.

On Republicans: Biden added that “democracy is not a partisan issue,” saying, “Not every Republican – not even the majority of Republicans – adhere to the extremist MAGA ideology. I know because I’ve been able to work with Republicans my whole career. But there is no question that today’s Republican Party is driven and intimidated by MAGA extremists. Their extreme agenda, if carried out, would fundamentally alter the institutions of American Democracy as we know it.” Biden also announced funding for a library to honor the late Sen. John McCain. 

Who Exactly Was Biden Criticizing? Right and left-rated media sometimes differed in how narrowly they framed the target of Biden’s criticism. For instance, the Washington Times (Lean Right bias) said Biden “condemned Trump supporters” – potentially including you, the reader – thereby framing his earlier appeal to bipartisanship as hypocritical. On the other hand, Axios (Lean Left bias) said Biden warned against Trump’s “brand of conservatism” – a movement, not people themselves. The New York Times (Lean Left bias) narrowed it further, saying Biden “issued a broad and blistering attack” against Trump himself. More broadly, coverage from the right was much more likely to focus on a climate protester who heckled Biden.

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