Former President Barack Obama warned on the campaign trail Tuesday that “demonizing” political opponents was going to cause people to “get hurt,” remarks that he made just a day before President Joe Biden demonized Republicans in an address to the nation.
The remarks from Obama come as Democrats have needed him on the campaign trail ahead of next week’s midterm elections due to Biden’s low approval ratings and the general dissatisfaction that many in the country have about how things are going, particularly the economy.
“This increasing habit of demonizing political opponents creates a dangerous climate,” Obama said at a Tuesday rally in Nevada. “Elected officials who do not explicitly reject or participate in over-the-top rhetoric, if that’s what they’re doing instead, if they just ignore or make light of that kind of violence, or if they encourage their supporters to stand outside voting places armed with guns and dressed in tactical gear, if that’s the environment that we create, more people are going to get hurt.”
Biden later gave an address to the nation where he urged Americans to unite around shared values despite repeatedly demonizing tens of millions of Republicans as a threat to the country.
Biden said that former President Donald Trump’s claims about the 2020 presidential election have “fueled the dangerous rise in political violence and voter intimidation over the past two years.”
“This violence against Democrats, Republicans and nonpartisan officials just doing their jobs are the consequence of lies told for power and profit,” Biden claimed. “Lies of conspiracy and malice. Lies repeated over and over that generate a cycle of anger, hate, vitriol, and even violence.”
Biden claimed that the “overwhelming majority of Americans believe our democracy is at risk, that our democracy is under threat” because “the defeated former President of the United States refused to accept the results of the 2020 election.”
Biden said that Trump’s claims were “an article of faith in the MAGA Republican Party” and that “extreme MAGA Republicans aim to question not only the legitimacy of past elections, but elections being held now and into the future.”
“The extreme MAGA element of the Republican Party, which is a minority [of] that party as I said earlier, but is its driving force, is trying to succeed where they failed in 2020, to suppress the right of voters and subvert the electoral system itself,” Biden claimed without evidence. “That means denying your right to vote and deciding whether your vote even counts.”
“Instead of waiting until the election is over, they’re starting well before it,” Biden claimed. “They’re starting now. They’ve emboldened violence and intimidation of voters and Election Officials. It’s estimated that there are more than 300 election deniers on the ballot all across America this year. We can’t ignore the impact this is having on our country. It’s damaging, is corrosive, and it’s destructive. And I want to be very clear, this is not about me. It’s about all of us.”