Tulsi Gabbard Says Biden Speech Worse Than Clinton's 'Deplorables' Comment

President Joe Biden's speech in Georgia championing voting rights legislation this week was labeled as divisive by former representative Tulsi Gabbard, who was once a contender in the Democratic Party's presidential primaries.

Gabbard, a former vice chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) who served as congresswoman for Hawaii's second congressional district until 2021, endorsed Biden when she dropped out of the 2020 presidential race.

But she took aim at Biden after his speech on Tuesday, which was given in one of the states where Democrats say Republicans have rolled back voting rights due to legislation they condemn as adversely impacting people of color and the poor.

Gabbard shared a clip of Biden's address made on the grounds of Morehouse College, a historically African-American university, in which he called on people to "defend the right to vote, our democracy against all enemies foreign and yes, domestic."

Appearing to compare those opposing election reform to believers in racial segregation, Biden said in the edited 33-second clip: "Do you want to be the side the side of Dr. King? Or George Wallace?"

"You want to be the side of John Lewis? Or Bull Connor," added Biden as he pushed the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, aimed at ending voter suppression.

Gabbard tweeted: "Hillary's calling tens of millions of Americans deplorables was divisive & disgusting," referring to comments made by the former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at a 2016 campaign fundraising event about some supporters of Donald Trump.

"But Biden has gone further, calling those who disagree with his actions & policies domestic enemies, traitors, and racists. Biden promised to unite us, but he is doing all he can to divide us."

Since leaving Congress, Gabbard has been critical of prominent figures within the Democrats she served and unusually for someone from her party, she has made appearances on Fox News.

She accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of using "inflammatory rhetoric"after the January 6 insurrection, and also criticized Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) for his calls to combat domestic insurgents through surveillance.

Biden's fiery speech was also criticized by top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell, who accused him of "abandoning rational persuasion for pure, pure, demagoguery."

Referring to Biden backing the voting legislation without GOP support, McConnell said: "You could not invent a better advertisement for the legislative filibuster than what we've just seen."

Biden ally and Democratic Illinois Senator Dick Durbin told CNN: "Perhaps the president went a little too far in his rhetoric."

Newsweek has contacted the White House for comment.

Tulsi Gabbard and Joe Biden
President Joe Biden (right) pictured in Atlanta, Georgia on 11 January, 2021, where he argued for voting rights change. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (left) has said his comments on the issue "divide us." Getty