ABC Host Confronts WH Adviser, Asks If Biden Has 'Given Up' on 70M Voters

ABC News host Martha Raddatz confronted White House adviser Keisha Lance Bottoms on Sunday about whether or not President Joe Biden has "given up" on 70 million GOP voters.

Biden blasted former President Donald Trump and other "MAGA Republicans" as a threat to democracy during a fiery speech in Philadelphia on Thursday. The speech, which many Democrats praised as being a sharp rebuke of Trump's 2020 election fraud claims, further soured the relationship between Republicans and Biden, who has long touted his ability to work with them.

"But there's no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans. And that is a threat to this country. These are hard things," the president said in his speech.

GOP critics condemned Biden, who they say has deepened partisan divisions and vilified Trump voters and other conservatives. Bottoms, the former mayor of Atlanta who now works as the White House's Office of Public Engagement director, defended the president during an appearance on ABC News' This Week.

Martha Raddatz confronts Keisha Lance Bottoms
Above, Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks during the 2020 Democratic National Convention (DNC) on August 20, 2020. On Sunday, ABC News host Martha Raddatz confronted Bottoms about President Joe Biden’s speech against “MAGA Republicans.” DNCC via Getty Images

Raddatz pressed Bottoms about whether or not the speech was overly divisive, referring to an analysis from the think tank Institute for Strategic Dialogue, which Raddatz said reported a surge in online discussion about Biden "singling out MAGA Republicans" being interpreted as a "declaration of war" against Trump voters.

Bottoms said those allegations were the latest instance of Trump supporters "distorting the truth." As Biden critics viewed the speech as divisive, Bottoms said she viewed it as the president "calling out" to Americans regardless of who they voted for.

"What I see in this speech—I see words of encouragement. I see optimism. I see a commander-in-chief who is calling out to all of us, no matter our political affiliation," she said.

Raddatz responded: "All of us? He wasn't calling out to the MAGA supporters, certainly. He mentioned them more than a dozen times as a threat to democracy. Has the president essentially given up on those MAGA Republicans—some 70 million people?"

"What the president has done is said that he will continue to work with mainstream Republicans. That he will work with Democrats—that he will work with independents to get things done in our country," Bottoms said. "But this MAGA Republican agenda; this hate-fueled agenda that we saw in sight balance on our nation's capital has no place in a democracy. And if we are not intentional about calling it out, which is what the president did, then our country—everything that our country is built upon is in danger."

While speaking to reporters on Friday, Biden also defended his speech, clarifying that he wasn't referring to "any Trump voter" as a threat to American democracy—but only those who advocate for or use violence.

"I don't consider any Trump supporter to be a threat to the country," the president said. "I do think anyone who calls for the use of violence, fails to condemn violence when it's used, refuses to acknowledge an election has been won, insists upon changing the way in which we rule and count votes, that is a threat to democracy."

Many on the right, however, have taken issue with the speech. Fox News host Tucker Carlson said Thursday during his show: "Joe Biden crossed into a very dangerous, very dangerous place. Tonight he declared in a speech in Philadelphia that anyone who disagrees with him is a threat to the country."

Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment.