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Biden goes after Trump in second straight speech for pushing 'second lost cause'

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President Biden on Monday sought to connect the fallout of the Civil War with the aftermath of the 2020 election as he warned truth and basic freedoms would be at risk if former President Trump won another term in the White House.

Biden drew comparisons between 2020 and the Civil War, when he said defeated Confederates could not accept defeat and instead embraced the “lost cause” that the war was about state’s rights, not slavery. That lie, he argued, brought on Jim Crow laws that disenfranchised and discriminated against Black people.

“Now, we’re living in an era of a second lost cause,” Biden said. “Once again there are some in this country trying to turn loss into a lie. A lie which, if allowed to live, will once again bring terrible damage to this country. This time the lie is about the 2020 election.”

His comments came days after GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley in late December said the cause of the Civil War was about the role of government. Former President Trump, the front-runner in the GOP primary, suggested in recent days the Civil War could have been negotiated.

“Let me be clear for those who don’t seem to know: Slavery was the cause of the Civil War. There is no negotiation about that,” Biden said Monday.

The president spoke at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, where a white supremacist gunman killed nine people, all of whom were Black. Following the shooting, South Carolina lawmakers voted to remove the Confederate flag from the state Capitol grounds.

Biden warned the “truth is under assault in America.”

“As a consequence, so is our freedom, our democracy, our very country, because without the truth there is no light. Without light there is no path from this darkness,” Biden said.

It marked the second campaign speech in recent days Biden has given in which he tried to crystalize the stakes of the 2024 election, framing it as a fight for democracy and basic rights rather than a matter of policy.

His speech was briefly interrupted by protesters calling for a cease-fire in Gaza, where thousands of Palestinians have died in Israeli military operations carried out in response to Hamas’s Oct. 7 terrorist attacks.

The president rattled off a list of accomplishments during his administration, including legislation to lower prescription drug prices, an executive order to increase accountability in policing and his efforts to curb gun violence.

He took direct aim at Trump, calling him a “loser” and condemning Trump’s recent comments that the community had to “move on” after a school shooting in Iowa.

He warned that “MAGA Republicans,” led by Trump, are “trying to steal history” by rewriting the events of Jan. 6, 2021, as a “peaceful protest.”

“The lies that led to Jan. 6 are part of a broader attack on the truth of America today that we all have seen before,” Biden said. 

“The same movement that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 “isn’t just trying to rewrite history, they’re trying to determine to erase history and your future,” Biden continued. “Banning books, denying your right to vote and have it counted, destroying diversity, equality, inclusion all across America.”

South Carolina, which helped propel Biden to the Democratic nomination in 2020, will host the Democratic Party’s first official primary next month after a scheduling change reshuffled the primary calendar. Biden is facing long-shot primary challenges from Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) and Marianne Williamson.

While Biden is expected to breeze through the primary, polling has shown he faces a tougher test in a general election. A slew of recent polls has shown him trailing Trump in key swing states. A New York Times/Siena College poll released in December found Biden trailing Trump among registered voters but leading the former president among those likely to vote in 2024.

Monday’s speech was a follow-up to one Biden delivered Friday near Valley Forge, Pa., focused squarely on the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. In that speech, Biden repeatedly and directly lambasted Trump as a threat to democracy whose refusal to accept defeat in the 2020 election led to the violence of that day.

Those remarks appeared to have the desired effect in motivating Biden’s core supporters, with the campaign hauling in more than $1 million through online fundraising alone in the 24 hours that followed the speech.

Source: The Hill

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