Biden Speech Updates: McCarthy Says Biden Policies 'Betrayed' Trust

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McCarthy Says Biden Policies 'Betrayed' Trust

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said President Joe Biden's policies "have severely wounded America's soul, diminished America's spirit and betrayed America's trust."

Speaking Thursday afternoon from the president's hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, McCarthy criticized Biden and other Democrats shortly before Biden was to deliver an address of his own in Philadelphia. The White House has said Biden's speech will be about "the continued battle for the Soul of the Nation."

McCarthy said he has heard Americans' frustrations during visits to nearly every state ahead of the midterm elections this fall.

"What is clear to me, and clear to you, is that Washington and the White House aren't listening," he said. "They just don't get it."

McCarthy said he and other Republicans running for office this year "share your unwavering conviction that we must change direction in Washington before it is too late" and said the U.S. will "flourish again" if Republicans take control of Congress as a result of the upcoming election cycle.

McCarthy then shifted his attention back to the Biden administration.

"Never in modern times has an administration promised more and delivered less," he said, adding the administration has "no one to blame but themselves."

"In the past two years, Joe Biden has launched an assault on the soul of America. On its people, on its laws, on its most sacred values. He has launched an assault on our democracy," McCarthy said.

Later Thursday afternoon, McCarthy gave another nod to the theme of the president's prime-time speech in a tweet that included video from the House Republican leader's earlier remarks in Scranton.

"President Biden doesn't understand the soul of America," McCarthy's tweet said. "It's the tens of millions of hard-working people, loving families, and law-abiding citizens whom he vilified—simply for for wanting a stronger, safer, and more prosperous country."

White House Shares Glimpse of Prepared Speech

The White House released a few lines from the prepared speech that President Joe Biden is expected to give during a prime-time address to the nation Thursday evening.

The White House released three excerpts from different sections of Biden's prepared remarks Thursday afternoon, just a few hours before his speech was scheduled to begin.

In the first excerpt, the president says he will speak about the "threats" Americans face, the "power we have in our own hands to meet those threats" and the "incredible future that lies in front of us if only we choose it."

The second excerpt addresses the Make America Great Again (MAGA) group of far-right conservatives encouraged by former President Donald Trump.

"MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards. Backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love," Biden is expected to say.

The final excerpt touches upon concerns Biden has voiced about the state of democracy in the United States.

"For a long time, we've reassured ourselves that American democracy is guaranteed. But it is not," the excerpt says. "We have to defend it. Protect it. Stand up for it. Each and every one of us."

Biden Leaving White House Soon for Pennsylvania

President Joe Biden will be leaving Washington, D.C. shortly and traveling to Philadelphia, where he is scheduled to deliver a prime-time address about the "soul of the nation."

The president and first lady are scheduled to leave the White House at about 5:50 p.m. ET and arrive at Joint Base Andrews about 20 minutes later, where they will then begin the short flight. They are expected to arrive at Philadelphia International Airport at about 6:50 p.m., according to the White House Press Office.

Once in Philadelphia, Biden will travel to Independence National Historical Park for his speech. His remarks are slated to begin at 8 p.m.

The White House has said his speech will be about "the continued battle for the Soul of the Nation."

Biden Reiterates Resolve to Ban Assault Weapons

President Joe Biden repeated his resolve to implement a ban on assault weapons in a Thursday afternoon tweet.

He made the case for the proposed ban during public remarks delivered earlier this week in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

"I am determined to ban assault weapons in this country," Biden's tweet said. "I did it once before, and I'll do it again."

At his Tuesday event in Pennsylvania, Biden reminded attendees that he was in the U.S. Senate at the time Congress passed its 1994 ban on assault weapons. The ban expired in 2004, after which Biden said the number of mass shootings in the U.S. jumped.

He relayed how he "took on the NRA" in the mid-1990s in a separate tweet posted on his official presidential Twitter account.

During that Tuesday speech, Biden addressed gun violence while outlining aspects of his Safer America Plan. A White House fact sheet says the plan will aim to better fund policing and invest in crime prevention strategies. It also seeks to take "common sense steps on guns to keep dangerous firearms out of dangerous hands," in part by encouraging Congress to pass a new assault weapons ban.

How to Watch 'Soul of the Nation' Speech

President Joe Biden will be delivering his prime-time speech on American democracy this evening. His remarks are scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. ET.

According to the White House, the speech will be about "the continued battle for the Soul of the Nation." Biden will be speaking in Philadelphia at Independence National Historical Park.

Most major television networks will carry the president's speech in real time. The White House will also be streaming Biden's speech live on its YouTube channel, or watch live below:

Biden's Speech Will Not Be Political, White House Says

Biden's speech tonight will call out the "extreme" agenda of MAGA Republicans, but will not be political, the White House said.

According to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, Biden's speech will be "optimistic" about the future of the country during this "critical" time.

"He will speak about how we can get through this current moment," she said during Thursday's press briefing. "You'll hear him talk about core values and what is at stake at this moment" and "what he sees as the threat at this time."

Biden will also talk about how his administration will continue to uphold American's rights and protect equality.

"This is not a political speech," Jean-Pierre said. "It is a direct conversation with the American people... about where we are today in our democracy."

Jean-Pierre said the speech is not about "one political party" or "one person in politics."

"This is about what we are going to do as a country to continue to fight for our democracy," she said.

Biden will touch on voter engagement and participation at a time when the stakes "are very high."

The president, however, will "not shy away" from calling out extremism, MAGA Republicans or his predecessor, Donald Trump, Jean-Pierre said.

Biden will talk about the MAGA Republicans' proposals to strip back Medicare, provide tax cuts for the rich and ban abortion, as well as calls for political violence.

Jean-Pierre said this agenda is "incredibly extreme," unpopular and does not align with a majority of Americans.

"Ultra-MAGA office-holders want to play games here and dodge accountability for their extreme proposals," she said, adding that the White House has "hit a nerve."

But instead of getting too political or specific, Biden will remain hopeful and broad.

Jean-Pierre said Biden knows how to deliver an optimistic speech while also calling out the current issues happening in this moment.

"Just because he calls out extremism, attacks on democracy and the concerns of Americans, does not mean he can't bring the country together and bring people some hope," she said.

Biden's speech will be for all Americans, "no matter what side of the aisle" they fall.

"He thinks that's going to touch a lot of people," Jean-Pierre said. "Many people are concerned about where our democracy is."

She said the American people will here about Biden's hope about the direction of America's future "towards a more perfect union."

"He will make the case, he will be optimistic and he will lay a path forward," she said, adding that Biden's focus remains on "what matters in this moment and what is at the heart of who we are as a country."

Trump, DOJ Awaiting Ruling on Special Master

A federal judge charged with deciding whether a special master should be appointed in reviewing documents FBI agents took from former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home did not make an immediate decision on Thursday following an afternoon hearing.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon will reportedly make a decision in the days ahead, though an exact timeline for when that decision will come was not given.

Cannon previously indicated she may rule in favor of Trump, whose legal team requested the appointment in a lawsuit filed last week. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) argued against having a special master assigned.

Reporters with Reuters said media outlets who were present for Thursday's hearing in Florida were unable to access the internet or send text messages as Cannon heard the arguments for and against introducing a special master to the case, resulting in a surge of reports about the decision delay once it was over.

Biden Shows Support for Pennsylvania Democrats

Before his "soul of the nation" speech in Philadelphia Thursday, President Joe Biden spoke to a friendly crowd in another part of his home state of Pennsylvania.

Biden spoke in Wilkes-Barre, PA about his Safer America Plan that aims to curb crime by bolstering local police forces and pushing commonsense gun laws.

The president said he is committed to supporting police.

"When it comes to public safety in this nation, the answer is not defund the police, it's fund the police," he said.

He said we as a nation expect police officers to "do everything" but do not give them enough support.

"I'm tired of not giving them the help they need," he said.

But he also stressed a need for more hiring, better training and accountability measures to restore public trust in law enforcement.

Biden said his plan will put an additional 100,000 officers on the street, encourage local police departments to undertake reforms, such as banning chokeholds, crack down on fentanyl-related crimes and establish task forces to reduce gun violence.Biden also said he is determined to reduce gun violence in America.

He said he is "determined" to ban assault weapons once again.

"I'm determined to ban assault weapons in this country," he said. "Determined. I did it once before, and I'll do it again."

"Back in 1994, I took on the NRA and passed the assault weapons ban," Biden said. "For 10 years, mass shootings were down — 10 years in a row since I passed that legislation in 1994 as a chair — as a senator. But in 2004, Republicans let that ban expire. And what happened? Mass shootings in America tripled."

"It's time to ban these. It's time to ban these weapons," he added. "We did it before, and we can do it again."

In an emotional moment, Biden also talked about the shooting in Uvalde, TX where 19 children were killed by a 20-year-old with an AR-15 rifle. He noted how parents had to provide DNA samples because the victims could not be identified, as the assault weapon used in that shooting "just rips the body apart."

"What the hell is the matter with us?" Biden said. "I'm not joking. Think about it: What are we doing?"

Biden encouraged Americans to "vote against" politicians who refuse to support an assault weapon ban.

"It's time to hold every elected official's feet to the fire and ask them: Are you for banning assault weapons, yes or no? Ask them," Biden said. "If the answer's no, vote against them."

Biden also called out the hypocrisy of some Republicans who claim to be pro-law enforcement but fail to condemn the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and call for the FBI to be defunded.

He called the recent uptick in violent threats against FBI agents "sickening" and said he is "opposed to defunding the FBI."

"There's no place in this country for endangering the lives of law enforcement," he said.

Tuesday's speech at Wilkes University also served as a campaign platform for Democrats facing tough election in Pennsylvania.

Biden expressed his support for Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is running for governor against Trump-backed Republican candidate Doug Mastriano, and Democratic Representative Matt Cartwright, who is also facing a tough Republic challenger in the upcoming midterms.

"I'm in Cartwright Country," Biden said. "He knows how to deliver for this district, which is so close to my heart."

Biden also expressed his support for Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman who is running against Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz for U.S. Senate in PA.

"Well, I tell you what, Fetterman is a hell of a guy," he said. "A powerful voice for working people. And he's going to make a great United States senator. He's going to make a great United States senator."

Biden Congratulates Peltola on Win Over Palin in Alaska

President Joe Biden congratulated Democrat Mary Peltola for her victory over former Governor Sarah Palin in Alaska's special election Wednesday.

"Last night, President Biden spoke to Congresswoman-elect Mary Peltola," the White House said. "The President congratulated her for her historic victory in the Alaska special election Wednesday."

According to the White House, the two had a "very warm conversation."

"[Biden] told her he looks forward to working with her to lower costs for working families in Alaska when she is sworn into her seat in Congress," the White House said.

Peltola, a former state lawmaker, defeated Palin by three percentage points in what would have been Palin's comeback to politics in a long-held Red state. She is the first Alaska Native elected to Congress and the first Democrat to to hold the seat since 1972.

This special election was held after the death of Republican Representative Don Young. This was also the first test of the state's new ranked choice voting system.

Many Republicans have blamed Palin's loss on the new voting system, claiming ranked choice disenfranchises Republicans.

"Ranked-choice voting is a scam to rig elections," Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton tweeted on election night. "60 percent of Alaska voters voted for a Republican, but thanks to a convoluted process and ballot exhaustion — which disenfranchises voters — a Democrat 'won.'"

While Alaska has two Republican Senators and has not backed a Democrat for president since 1964, most voters are unaffiliated with a party, according to statistics from the Division of Elections.

This victory could prove to be a good sign for Democrats trying to maintain their control in Congress heading into the midterm elections in the fall.

Peltola's performance could indicate broader political trends that are building momentum for major wins in November.

As poll tracker FiveThirtyEight pointed out in an article on August 24, Democrats have performed well in special elections and may even have exceeded expectations, possibly pointing to a "better-than-expected" midterm for the party.

The results came in over two weeks after the Aug. 16 election. The ranked choice count on Wednesday came after none of the candidates won more than 50 percent of the first choice votes.

As part of ranked-choice voting, voters are asked to rank candidates in order of preference. If no candidate receives a majority, officials eliminate the last-place candidate and redistribute the votes of their supporters to the other remaining candidates, based on who voters ranked second. If there is not a majority again, the same elimination process continues to take place until a candidate has at least 50 percent.

Peltola will serve the remainder of Young's term before facing another election in the fall to determine who will represent Alaska in the 118th Congress. She will face the same two Republicans she defeated in this special election; Palin and Nicholas Begich.

Trump Holding Saturday Rally in Pennsylvania

Following President Joe Biden's prime-time address in Philadelphia on Thursday, former President Donald Trump will also travel to Pennsylvania on Saturday to hold a rally.

Trump's event will take place in Wilkes-Barre, where Biden delivered remarks on Tuesday of this week about his Safer America Plan. Trump is expected to begin speaking at 7 p.m. ET, though doors will open to ticket holders earlier that afternoon.

Trump's Save America PAC has said the Saturday rally will be "a continuation of President Trump's unprecedented effort to advance the MAGA agenda by energizing voters and highlighting America First candidates and causes."

The rally's guest speakers are scheduled to begin delivering remarks at 4 p.m. ET. Among them will be Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is running for a seat in the U.S. Senate, Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, and congressional candidate Jim Bognet. All three Republicans were endorsed by Trump earlier this year.

McCarthy Says Biden 'Trying to Distract' Nation

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said President Joe Biden is "trying to distract" Americans from "the disasters that he's created in this country."

During a Thursday morning appearance on Fox & Friends, McCarthy was asked about Biden's recent criticisms of Make America Great Again (MAGA) Republicans, a term embraced by former President Donald Trump.

"The problem with Joe Biden is, he does not understand the soul of America," McCarthy said, a nod to Biden's anticipated prime-time speech Thursday evening that the White House has said will address "the continued battle for the Soul of the Nation." McCarthy is scheduled to deliver remarks of his own about Biden and the Democratic Party before Biden's address begins.

McCarthy said Biden "vilifies" millions of "hard-working, law-abiding citizens" who "simply want" things like affordable gas prices and a voice in their children's education.

"They want a stronger, safer, more prosperous America, and all he does is vilify them to distract from the disasters and no plan he has to save America from where we are today," McCarthy said.

McCarthy later shared a clip of his Fox & Friends appearance in a tweet that included a reiteration of his point that Biden "doesn't understand the soul of America."

Biden's Schedule Ahead of 'Soul of the Nation' Speech

After receiving his daily briefing Thursday morning, President Joe Biden will leave the White House en route to Philadelphia, PA.

Biden will speak to a press gaggle on the South Lawn at around 5:50 p.m. ET before he and First Lady Jill Biden depart to Joint Base Andrews and then to Pennsylvania.

The president and first lady are expected to arrive in at Philadelphia International Airport at 6:50 p.m. The arrival will be open to the press, according to the White House.

Biden is expected to deliver his prime-time speech on "the continued battle for the Soul of the Nation" at 8 p.m. ET at Independence Hall.

After the speech, the president and first lady will leave Philadelphia around 9:25 p.m. and arrive back at the White House at approximately 10:30 p.m.

The departure from Philadelphia and the arrivals at Joint Base Andrews and the White House South Lawn will be covered by the press.

Trump's Special Master Hearing Happens Today

A judge in Florida will hear arguments today on whether a special master should be appointed to provide oversight as the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reviews documents FBI agents seized from former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home.

The hearing is expected to begin at 1 p.m. ET. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon will preside as Trump's legal team and officials representing the DOJ make their arguments, according to the Associated Press.

Cannon has already signaled that her decision was leaning in Trump's favor, though it is unknown exactly when her final decision will be made or who would fill the role if she does grant Trump's request, the AP reported.

Trump's legal team first requested the appointment in a lawsuit filed last week that suggested some of the material taken by the FBI during agents' August 8 search could contain privileged information.

The DOJ has argued against the appointment, writing in a filing earlier this week that presidential records "do not belong" to Trump and suggesting the introduction of an outside legal expert would interfere with the department's ongoing investigation. The DOJ also said Trump does not have legal standing for his request.

Times Square is Now a Gun Free Zone

New York City will introduce a gun free zone in Times Square as the state's new Concealed Carry Improvement Act goes into effect Thursday.

The new law will restrict concealed carry in Times Square, bars, libraries, schools, government buildings and hospitals.

This comes as a response to the Supreme Court's repeal of the state's law limiting the availability of concealed carry permits.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said this new law will make New Yorkers more safe.

"In response to the Supreme Court's decision to strike down New York's century-old concealed carry law, we took swift and thoughtful action to keep New Yorkers safe," Hochul said in a statement. "I refuse to surrender my right as governor to protect New Yorkers from gun violence or any other form of harm. In New York State, we will continue leading the way forward and implementing common-sense gun safety legislation."

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said this New York will defend itself against the Supreme Court's recent decision that he calls the "shot heard round the world that took dead aim at the safety of all New Yorkers."

"New York City will defend itself against this decision, and, beginning tomorrow, new eligibility requirements for concealed carry permit applicants and restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons in 'sensitive locations,' like Times Square, take effect," he said in a statement.

Adams said signage will be posted at every entrance to Times Square informing traveling through that "the area is a gun-free zone and that licensed gun carriers and others may not enter with a gun unless otherwise specially authorized by law."

Signs have appeared around and within the busy area that attracts millions of tourists throughout the year.

This law comes as President Joe Biden calls for more "commonsense" gun laws.

During a speech in Wilkes-Barre, PA Tuesday, Biden said he is "determined" to ban assault-style firearms, invoking the tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX.

"These AR-15s just rip the body apart," he said. "A 20-year-old kid can walk in and buy one?... What the hell's the matter with us?"

Biden's Safer America Plan aims reduce crime and gun violence. The plan will crack down on gun traffickers and rouge gun dealers, strengthen background checks and ban ghost guns, assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

The president has also called out Republicans in Congress who have voted against his gun safety proposals.

Biden's Job Approval Rating up Ahead of Midterms

Recent polling has indicated President Joe Biden's job approval rating is beginning to rebound ahead of the midterm elections this fall.

A Quinnipiac University Poll conducted in late August found Biden had a job approval rating of 40 percent among respondents, a 9 percent increase over his approval rating one month earlier. His job approval rating in the most recent poll was at 41 percent among registered voters, an 8 percent increase over numbers Quinnipiac released in July.

Tim Malloy, a Quinnipiac polling analyst, referred to Biden's rising approval rating as a "summertime surge" in a press release Quinnipiac issued about the poll's results.

"President Biden's approval number bounces back to the long elusive 40 percent mark, as he rides increased support among young adults who may well be encouraged by Biden's decision to erase some student debt," Malloy said.

Pollsters found respondents split on their opinions about Biden's student loan forgiveness plan, with a majority of Democrats supportive of the plan and a majority of Republicans against it.

Another poll released last week by Gallup similarly found Biden's job approval rating beginning to climb following a dip in July. Gallup pollsters said Biden's approval rating was at about 44 percent, which they identified as "his highest in a year."

Kevin McCarthy to Give Prebuttal to Biden Speech

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California will campaign in President Biden's hometown ahead of the president's "Soul of the Nation" speech Thursday.

McCarthy will travel to Pennsylvania to "talk about what he has heard from the American people this summer regarding rising crime, record high inflation and other hardships brought on by the Democrats' harmful policies," according to a press release announcing the speech.

The campaign event will also include Jim Bognet, a Republican challenging Democratic incumbent Representative Matt Cartwright in the midterm election.

McCarthy's remarks Thursday evening will serve as a prebuttal before Biden's Soul of the Nation speech.

He is expected to rebuke Biden's recent attacks on MAGA Republicans.

"Rather than work to address these concerns, President Biden reportedly plans to continue to disparage hard working Americans and offer no plan to turn our country around from the disaster Democrats have created," McCarthy's campaign said in a statement.

Kevin McCarthy
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) talks to reporters after attending the swearing-in of Rep. Brad Finstad (R-MN) at the U.S. Capitol on August 12, 2022 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Biden Condemns MAGA Calls for Political Violence

President Joe Biden previewed his upcoming speech calling out Republicans who align with former President Donald Trump during his remarks in Wilkes-Barre Tuesday.

Biden rebuked calls for political violence from Republican lawmakers.

The president said some of his "friends on the other team," referring to Republicans in Congress, "think political violence is necessary."

He was referring to Senator Linsey Graham of South Carolina, who said there would be "riots in the streets" if Trump is prosecuted amid the Justice Department's investigation into documents found at his Florida home.

"The idea you turn on a television and see senior senators and congressmen saying, 'If such and such happens there'll be blood on the street'?" Biden said. "Where the hell are we?"

He said political violence is "never appropriate."

"No one should be encourage to use political violence," Biden said.

Biden condemned MAGA Republicans in Congress who refuse to condemn the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

He said Republicans "can't be pro-law enforcement and pro-insurrection."

"Don't tell me you support law enforcement if you won't condemn what happened on the 6th," he said. "You're either on the side of the mob or the police."

He added that Republicans cannot be the party of law and order while calling those who attacked Capitol police on January 6 "patriots."

The president also condemned attacks on the FBI following the search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago home earlier this month.

"It's sickening to see the new attacks on the FBI, threatening the life of law enforcement and their families, for simply carrying out the law and doing their job," Biden said. "I'm opposed to defunding the police; I'm also opposed to defunding the FBI."

Last week, Biden previewed his "soul of the nation" speech by pointing out that the country is in a critical spot to determine the future of the MAGA ideology.

"What we're seeing now is either the beginning or the death knell of an extreme 'MAGA' philosophy," Biden told Democrats at a Maryland fundraiser. "It's not just Trump, it's the entire philosophy that underpins the — I'm going to say something, it's like semi-fascism."

Democrats Edge Republicans Ahead of Midterms, New Poll Suggests

Democrats have a slight edge ahead of November's crunch midterm elections, according to the latest Wall Street Journal poll.

It found 47 percent of voters polled would "definitely" or "probably" vote for the Democrats if the election was "held today," versus 44 percent for Republicans.

The poll suggested, Biden had a net favorability rating of -8, versus -19 for GOP leader Donald Trump. The poll was conducted between August 17 and 25.

Where Is President Joe Biden Speaking Later?

 Independence Hall in Philadelphia
Tourists stop by the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on March 20, 2021. Biden is expected to speak from the lawn outside the hall later. DANIEL SLIM//AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden is traveling to Philadelphia today to deliver his speech from Independence Hall.

It's famously where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, and from where Abraham Lincoln delivered a speech in 1861 before the civil war.

Next door is Congress Hall, the seat of Congress for 10 years between 1790 and 1800, during which time Philadelphia was the temporary U.S. capital.

President Biden's Previous Prime-Time TV Addresses

It is rare for U.S. presidents to address the nation during primetime.

Biden has delivered two prime-time addresses since he was sworn in on January 20, 2021. Here's what he said:

COVID Lockdowns

On March 21, 2021 to mark the first anniversary of major coronavirus lockdowns across the U.S. He said America is on a "war footing," adding: "We know what we need to do to beat this virus; tell the truth, follow the science, work together."

He urged, "I need every American to do their part," stating that "beating this virus and getting back to normal depends on national unity."

Mass Shootings

On June 2 this year, Biden spoke in the wake of mass shootings an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, which killed 21, and a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, which killed 10.

An emotional Biden declared "enough!" and asked America "for God's sake, how much more carnage are we willing to accept?"

"After Columbine, after Sandy Hook, after Charleston, after Orlando, after Las Vegas, after Parkland, nothing has been done. This time that can't be true."

Biden To Attack 'Extreme' MAGA GOP: White House

White House officials have been tight-lipped about the content of President Joe Biden's speech, saying only the president will speak about the "battle for the soul of the nation."

But we learned a little more yesterday.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Biden will address the rise of "MAGA Republicans" and the "fight for our democracy."

Karine Jean-Pierre at the White House
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre at the White House on Wednesday, August 31. Jean-Pierre answered a range of questions including the speech U.S. President Joe Biden is scheduled to deliver later Thursday. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Asked about the speech, she said the president "believes that we need to continue to fight for our democracy."

She added: "You look at the extreme wing of a party—the MAGA Republican—it's not stopping. It is continuing.

"And, you know, he believes that there are a majority of Americans who disagree with that, who disagree on the attack of our core values as a country, and he's going to speak directly to them tomorrow."

Last Thursday at a DNC rally, Biden said that "an extreme MAGA philosophy" within the Republican Party is "like semi-fascism."

What Time Is Joe Biden's Speech Today?

Primetime—a rare slot for a presidential address.

Biden is expected to begin his speech about 8 p.m. ET Thursday.

There will be an invitation-only crowd at the event at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

The president's address will be broadcast online and on major TV networks.

Newsweek will provide rolling text updates, video and reaction right here.