US President Joe Biden has accused his Republican rival Donald Trump of seeking to take power through “political violence,” likening the former leader’s rhetoric to that used by “Nazi Germany” while deeming him a threat to American democracy itself.
Biden launched a major broadside against Trump during a campaign speech in Pennsylvania on Friday night, citing the January 6, 2021 riot at the US Capitol as a major part of the last president’s legacy.
“Donald Trump’s campaign is about him, not America. Not you. Donald Trump’s campaign is obsessed with the past, not the future. He’s willing to sacrifice our democracy, put himself in power,” Biden said, going on to slam Trump as “sick” and a “loser.”
Recalling the unrest in the wake of the last presidential election, Biden went on to say that Trump and his supporters still embrace “political violence,” adding “Trump’s assault on democracy isn’t just part of his past. It’s what he’s promising for the future.”
He also drew a comparison between the Republican candidate and the Third Reich. “He calls those who oppose him vermin. He talks about the blood of Americans being poisoned, echoing the same exact language used in Nazi Germany,” the president continued, positing himself as a defender of American institutions.
Trump hit back during his own remarks on Friday night, calling Biden’s speech a “pathetic fearmongering campaign event” while slamming the leader for “an unbroken streak of weakness, incompetence, corruption and failure.”
“Biden, if you take a look at what he’s doing on the border or inflation, or our military, that horrible day in Afghanistan, you look at what he’s done with energy – all throughout the world, we’re an embarrassment as a country. We’ve become an embarrassment as a country,” Trump added.
Trump spokesman Steven Cheung later described Biden as “the real threat to democracy,” accusing him of “weaponizing the government to go after his main political opponent and interfering in the 2024 election.”
The GOP frontrunner delivered his speech at the first of several scheduled events in Iowa, which will begin caucusing on January 15. The state is typically among the first to hit the polls alongside New Hampshire, and is seen as a crucial test for candidates.
As the 2024 race approaches, Biden faces lagging approval ratings, closing out last year at just 39%, the lowest rating for any of the last seven presidents at the end of their first term, according to Gallup. By comparison, Trump ended his single term in office with 45% approval, while former President Barack Obama saw a slightly lower 43%.
Trump, meanwhile, is now engaged in legal battles in Maine and Colorado after both states disqualified him from appearing on their ballots, and is embroiled in four separate criminal cases, which the former leader has slammed as a political “witch hunt” against him.