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Not every Trump supporter threat to nation, Biden says

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(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden said Friday that he does not consider all supporters of his predecessor, Donald Trump, to be a threat to the United States.

“I don’t consider any Trump supporter to be a threat to the country,” Biden said in response to a reporter’s question.

The night before, Biden had said during a major, prime-time speech in Philadelphia that “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”

“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,” he said, using the acronym for Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.

Biden has repeatedly explained he is not condemning all Republicans, but rather those loyal to Trump.

He said Friday he thought people who call for violence or fail to condemn it, refuse “to acknowledge when an election has been won” and insist on changing the way votes are counted – “that is a threat to democracy.”

Biden said those who voted for Trump in 2020 “and support him now, they weren’t voting for attacking the Capitol, they weren’t voting for overruling an election.”

“They were voting for the philosophy he put forward,” Biden said.

“So, I am not talking about anything other than, it is inappropriate — and it’s not only happened here, but other parts of the world — where there’s a failure to recognize and condemn violence whenever it’s used for political purposes,” he said. “Failure to condemn the attempt to manipulate electoral outcomes. Failure to acknowledge when an election has been won or lost.”

The culmination of weeks of ramped-up rhetorical attacks on Republicans loyal to Trump, his Thursday night speech was highly political in nature, although the White House had taken pains to paint it as an “official” event.

Two Marines stood behind the president as he spoke at Independence Hall, prompting criticism the White House was using them as political props.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday “the presence of the Marines at the speech was intended to demonstrate the deep and abiding respect the president has for these services–service members, to these ideals, and the unique role our independent military plays in defending our democracy, no matter which party is in power.”

She noted previous presidents had spoken while standing in front of members of the military.

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