Democratic Montana Sen. Jon Tester defended President Joe Biden’s anti-MAGA speech from earlier this month, arguing the president was denouncing Republicans who think “violence is is is a way to solve problems,” not all supporters of former President Donald Trump.
“I live in north central Montana. Many of my neighbors, many of my friends, many of my relatives are supporters of the former president. I can also tell you that they’re not extremists. They just believe in the policies that the president had,” Tester told Fox News’ Shannon Bream during her debut as the new, permanent anchor of “FOX News Sunday.”
“But I don’t think those are the people that the president’s talking about. I think he’s talking about the people that actually do support the president that think violence is a way to solve problems. And it’s not.”
Tester was responding to a recent piece published by constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley, who slammed the president’s recent speech and pointed to a Trafalgar poll that found 56% of voters believed Biden’s speech tried to “incite conflict.”
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“For many, the speech was the final refutation of Biden’s pledge to be a unifier as president after two years of highly partisan and divisive actions,” Turley wrote.
Tester responded to the poll and Turley’s comment that Biden’s speech was not “casting all Republicans” as extremists, but was allegedly condemning “fringe” Republicans.
“Look back as far as Jan. 6, and see what happened. There were folks [who] came to Washington, D.C., and brought here by the president, that ended up in a really, really bad situation. So that’s kind of how I look at it. I don’t think he is casting all Republicans in that case. In fact, he specifically says it’s the ones that are on the fringe that he’s talking about,” he said.
Critics have lambasted Biden for what they say was an angry speech on Sept. 1, where the president repeatedly took aim at the millions of Americans who voted for former President Trump in 2020. The set of the speech was also ridiculed for featuring a “blood red” background that was characterized as “hellish.”
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The president argued in his remarks that “MAGA Republicans” are a threat to democracy.
“MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution,” Biden said while flanked by Marines in front of a red backdrop. “They do not believe in the rule of law. They do not recognize the will of the people.”
“This is a nation that believes in the rule of law,” he added. “We do not repudiate it.”
Trump also blasted Biden’s speech in remarks at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, last Saturday evening, calling the president an “enemy of the state.”
“This week, Joe Biden came to Philadelphia to give the most vicious, hateful, and divisive speech ever delivered by an American president,” Trump told the crowd. “Vilifying 75 million citizens, plus another probably 75 to 150 if we want to be accurate about it, as threats to democracy and enemies of the state. You’re all enemies of the state.”
Trump continued: “He’s the enemy of the state, if you want to know the truth.”