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Point: What President Biden Should Say at the Debate

The following is a suggested opening statement for President Joe Bide at the upcoming June 27 debate with former President Donald Trump.

For an opposing viewpoint see: “Counterpoint: What Trump Should Say at the Debate (But Probably Won’t)

My fellow Americans,

Every four years, you hear this is the most important election ever. These claims pale compared to what we now face. Our very democracy is at risk.

The Republican Party, a formerly great institution, has been corrupted by my opponent. While I may not have agreed with all their policies in the past, I respected their integrity. This is no longer true.

Past Republicans and Democrats differed in philosophy but not in allegiance to the Constitution. They aspired to honesty and justice. At the federal level, that is gone. We now have a Trump party. If Donald Trump disagrees, the issue is dead.

After much work by Democrats and Republicans on our Mexican border’s complex problem, we appeared to have reached an agreement. The agreement included everything that Republicans previously wanted. Unfortunately, Trump, concerned that he might lose a political edge, advised his party against it, and they obeyed. So solid, non-partisan legislation in the country’s best interest, but not in the interest of Donald Trump, died.

My opponent has all the makings of an authoritarian president. Do we want a leader like those he admires — Russia’s Vladimir Putin, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, or Hungary’s Viktor Orban? Like them, Trump’s supreme requirement is loyalty — unquestioning loyalty.

Trump believes he is above the law, laws that are pillars of our Constitution and of civil society. He is corrupt and corrupts people around him. His former lawyers and advisers have been convicted of criminal acts while serving him. Many are currently in prison; others have admitted their guilt and await trial. And, at the head of the pack is the former president, a convicted felon awaiting sentencing. Can you imagine? Is this the legacy we want to vote for, to tell our children we support?

The man is now running on a platform of retaliation and vengeance. His goal is to punish his enemies, and he has been very clear about this. Is this democracy?

The potential damage of a Trump win in November would be enormous, including the power to fill Supreme Court vacancies with extreme conservatives.

You may not see me as the ideal age for a president. Still, my staff knows I listen, am intellectually sharp, and bring a wealth of experience. I’m a thoughtful, careful, critical decision-maker. With me, you will, once again, be electing a president with a solid team of dedicated public servants who work not to please my ego but for all Americans.

In contrast, Trump’s Cabinet and White House advisers had the highest turnover rate of any administration in American history. Many who have worked with him believe him to be incompetent and unethical. And they have forcefully said so.

I am proud of our accomplishments in the last four years. We reduced the deficit, capped Medicare drug costs, passed an infrastructure bill with many of its benefits yet to come, deployed more border agents, increased police funding, raised taxes on the rich, sent aid to Ukraine, canceled student debt for thousands, and, very significantly, supported women’s rights in every way we could. Not bad for an old guy, huh?

At the end of Trump’s term, unemployment stood at 6.2 percent, and on my watch, it has been below 4 percent for the last two years. Inflation rose to over 13.5 percent at its peak two years ago but has dropped to less than 3 percent in recent reports.

But that’s not good enough. The economy may look good on paper, but it doesn’t feel that way for many Americans. The cost of food, rent, home purchases and energy are stressing many. I will specifically work to reduce the areas of inflation that most affect everyday Americans.

My fellow Americans. With your vote, you alone can stop Donald Trump from making this country an autocracy. Look closely at this man’s character, egotistical need for admiration and attention, biases, and crude behavior. And yes, the fact that he is already a felon facing sentencing with additional indictments and trials to come. Sitting out this election is not an option.

In Biden, you get a man of integrity who is willing and eager to work across the aisle — who, along with my team, is dedicated to democracy — a democracy in danger. My fellow Americans, we have much to look forward to, but we need the right leader.  I am that person.

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Trump Touts McCormick, Courts Black Voters at Philadelphia Rally

There was a bit of a bromance between former President Donald Trump and Senate candidate Dave McCormick at Trump’s rally in Philadelphia on Saturday.

Trump endorsed McCormick as “a warrior, a great military person, an incredible guy. And we have to elect him as the U.S. senator from your state. And just so you know, Dave McCormick is a seventh-generation Pennsylvanian who grew up in Bloomsburg, went to West Point, did great there and earned a Bronze Star for his service.”

“Dave went on to an outstanding career in business and now is fighting for the people of this commonwealth. He loves this commonwealth. He really is a high-quality person. I actually said, ‘Dave, are you too high quality for this job?’”

“But I’d rather have that than the other. And honestly, the other senator has been here forever…I don’t think I ever met him in my years in Washington. He doesn’t do anything,” Trump said. “Dave will vote to secure your borders, stand up to China, and unleash incredible amounts of Pennsylvania energy. And he wants to stop Biden inflation.”

Philadelphia fans welcome former President Donald Trump.

Trump also bashed McCormick’s opponent, Democratic incumbent Sen. Bob Casey Jr.

Trump added, “Bob Casey votes with Sleepy Joe 98 percent (of the time). Bob Casey could have voted to stop Joe Biden’s invasion; instead, he voted in favor of sanctuary cities. He voted to give illegal aliens taxpayer-funded benefits. He voted against the border wall… Pennsylvania, you need to defeat open borders Bob Casey.”

On the stump in the swing state that many political observers believe could determine the outcome of the presidential race, Trump hit two issues hard: illegal immigration and the economy.

Trump recounted recent news stories of attacks by illegal immigrants, like a 13-year-old girl allegedly raped in New York City, a 12-year-old Texas girl allegedly assaulted and murdered by two illegal immigrants, and a Maryland mother of five who was allegedly raped and murdered. In every case, the alleged assailants had previously been released into the U.S. by the Biden administration.

“Joe Biden wants to be president for illegal aliens, but I will be president for law-abiding Americans,” Trump said, while promising to “tear up”  the mass amnesty executive order that Biden recently announced. Countries are opening up prisons and mental hospitals and sending inmates to America, he said.

“In Venezuela, crime is down 72 percent,” he said.

Trump also blamed Biden for inflation and said he would bring back prosperity.

“When I left office, inflation was practically nothing. During my term we had gasoline down to $1.87 a gallon. And the 30-year mortgage rate was 2.7 percent. And then Joe Biden blew it to shreds. Biden’s inflation price hikes on energy infrastructure cost the average American family an astounding $28,000.”

“You know, inflation is a disaster,” he said. “It’s a total country buster. And when you look at the prices of eggs and bacon, it’s gone up 100 percent.”

“The monthly cost of a mortgage has gone up under Crooked Joe Biden,” he said. “With me, it was around 2 percent. Now it’s 10 percent, and you can’t get the money.”

“On day one of my administration, we will throw out Bidenomics and replace it with MAGA-nomics,” he said to cheers and applause.

Former President Donald Trump with Senate candidate Dave McCormick

Trump also talked at length about the troubles plaguing Philadelphia, using them to make a pitch for support among Black voters. He specifically called out progressive District Attorney Larry Krasner, saying he has “the blood of countless men and women and children on his hands” for his soft-on-crime policies.

The Trump campaign is making inroads with Black and Hispanic voters, according to recent polling. The rally in a predominantly Black area of Philadelphia, along with endorsements from rap artists and others, is a clear attempt to attract voters who previously voted Democratic.

“The people of our country are looking for hope, whether they are White, Brown, Black or anything else. They’re looking for hope,” Trump told the crowd. “We will also work to lift up Black and Hispanic and other communities in Philadelphia and all across the United States…They’re smart. They want jobs. They want safety. They don’t want to lose their homes.”

Kristina Bowie, a Black Philadelphia resident, attended to support Trump.

“I like his policies,” she said. “I like all he’s trying to do to make America great again.” When Trump was president, “It was just better then.”

But state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia) said his constituents won’t back the former president.

“I represent the community in Philly where Trump is currently ranting and raving. I can authoritatively say my neighbors aren’t in that arena listening to his lies.”

Doylestown residents Peder Cox and Ellen Bowman Cox. Bowman Cox is leader of the Doylestown Republican Club.

When McCormick took the stage, he also focused his comments on the economy and the need for change.

“As a native of Pennsylvania, it breaks my heart that 60 percent of Pennsylvanians are living paycheck to paycheck. Prices are on the rise 20 percent,” said McCormick. “As a combat veteran, it breaks my heart that we can’t make our recruiting numbers, that our military is in decline and that 22 veterans a day kill themselves. We need new leadership.”

Trump’s appearance drew supporters from across the state.

Phoenixville resident Brooke Spinelli said, “I support Trump (for) a number of reasons. School choice. I want the economy to be where it was.” She brought her father, a gun collector who is concerned about his Second Amendment rights, to the rally.

“I think our country was in better shape when Donald Trump was running it,” said Stephanie McCoy from New Holland, in Lancaster County. “He actually cared about the American people and didn’t have our borders opened up for anyone to come in.”

And while Trump’s message in the past on early voting and mail in ballots was less than clear, he urged the Keystone State crowd to get out and vote, whether early, by mail or in person, and to volunteer “to secure our elections.”

“We don’t want them dumping ballots,” he said. “If we win Pennsylvania, we win the presidency.”

Doylestown Rally Kick Off for Black Conservative Federation of Bucks County

Milo Morris kicked off the Black Conservative Federation of Bucks County Friday with a Doylestown rally honoring Flag Day and former President Donald Trump’s 78th birthday.

The next day, Trump spoke to a large crowd at a Black church in Detroit, kicking off his “Black Americans for Trump” organization. Two prominent Black Republicans and Trump supporters, U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) and former Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson, were on hand.

In Bucks County, about 40 Republicans showed up for the pro-Trump event, waving U.S. and Trump flags and wearing Trump-themed clothing. Along the busy corner of North Main and East Court streets, drivers honked their support. Rock music blared, and some rallygoers danced as they waved Trump signs.

“Many of you know, we’ve got a new organization in Bucks County for this election cycle called the Black Conservative Federation,” said Morris, to applause and cheers. “I am the Bucks County chair.”

He said the organization began in 2016 and has branches in 26 states.

“We are putting an extra special focus on five swing states, including Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania,” said Morris, a Riegelsville resident. “We’re looking at here is a unique opportunity in the history of the modern Republican Party since I was born. We’ve got about 30 percent of Black voters that are leaning toward Trump. And we’ve got another 45 percent of Hispanic voters that are leaning toward Trump.  And my objective between now and Nov. 5 is to try to capture that 30 percent and 45 percent.”

The Trump campaign has reached out to both groups.

“Regardless of how they’re registered, the policies of the Biden administration are affecting everybody,” added Morris. “And the further you go down the socio-economic ladder, the worse it hurts. So the Blacks and Latinos are being hurt disproportionately, simply by being at the bottom of the ladder.”

The crowd sang happy birthday to Trump and Morris cut pieces of a large cake.

Jen Pabernik, a Bucks GOP committee person and executive for District 9 in Upper Bucks, said she came to the rally because “I love my country first and foremost. And I’m a huge supporter of Donald Trump. And It’s his birthday today.”

Rick Pendergast came from Glenolden in Delaware County, bringing his dog, Petey, who wore his own Trump shirt.

“I’ve been at all the rallies since 2016,” said Pendergast. Trump is “near and dear to my heart.”

Pam Masciotro, vice chair of the Warrington GOP, said she thinks “our country is a mess. It was not a mess four years ago (when Trump was president).” She said the main problems are inflation, the economy, and foreign wars.

Also, “the judicial system is a joke. And it’s been weaponized, not just against Trump but us.”

She attended the rally to “let people know they’re not alone.”

Joe Curcio, also of Warrington, said he is “very concerned about the future.”

He has three children, ages 16, 14, and 7, and cares for his elderly parents.

“I’m having a harder time than during the (COVID) shutdown,” he said. Inflation is cutting into his family’s food budget, and he mentioned the price of eggs and bacon, noting his teenagers have healthy appetites.

“I’m here because I think the country is going down the toilet,” said Curcio.

Steve Mekanik, a businessman challenging incumbent state Rep. Tim Brennan (D-Doylestown) also attended.

“My primary [policy concern] is obviously seniors. I want to protect seniors’ rights. I want to lower the cost of healthcare for all seniors in the state of Pennsylvania. And I was to freeze property taxes at age 70 and above. Not eliminate, just freeze.

“For school safety, I want to keep safety resources officers in there. I think every school should have one. Times are very difficult these days. There are a lot of crazy people out there, and we’ve got to protect our children.”

Morris has been a Trump supporter from the start and was a former employee.

“In 1988, I worked in the show in [the former] Trump’s Castle [casino] in Atlantic City,” said Morris, who was a dancer and is also a singer. “And that year for his birthday we did a special show for his birthday. Don King was there, La Toya Jackson–a bunch of people. I was telling people about that over Memorial Day weekend, and I thought his birthday is coming up. We should do a rally.”

Trump is scheduled to come to the Temple University campus on Saturday, June 22. President Joe Biden has visited Pennsylvania eight times so far this campaign cycle, most recently reaching out to Black voters in Philadelphia in May.

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In Wake of Trump Guilty Verdict, DelVal Opinions Vary

“If they can do this to me, they can do this to anyone,” former President Donald Trump told reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York the day after being convicted of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

It’s a message he has repeated since then, dismissing the trial as a “scam” during an appearance on Fox and Friends Weekend on Sunday, predicting the verdict will rally his support on the right.

He blamed President Joe Biden and his administration, along with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and Judge Juan Merchan, for the trial and verdict.

“People get it. It’s a scam. And the Republican Party, they’ve stuck. They stick together in this. They see that it’s the weaponization of the Justice Department, of the FBI and that’s [it’s] all coming out of Washington.”

Trump, who is set to be sentenced July 11 — just four days before the Republican National Convention — said he will appeal.

And what are people in the Delaware Valley saying?

Responding on Facebook, DVJournal reader Bill Watkins put it succinctly: “Vote Trump.”

“Good. Our judicial system, the foundation of a nation of laws, worked,” was the response of Rich Heiland.

Muhlenberg College political science Professor Christopher Borick offered a more analytical view.

“The very tight presidential race in the commonwealth is creating a bit of gravitational pull on the down-ballot races, making it a challenge for down-ballot Republicans and Democrats to escape the performance of Trump and Biden,” Borick said.

“If the guilty verdict does nudge a relatively small slice of voters away from Trump as polling suggest it might, it can place some weight onto down-ballot Republicans who have been modestly lifted by Trump’s fairly good showing in recent polls  All of this is among a small group of voters, but in a place like Pennsylvania, and in the state’s most competitive districts [for example, the 7th, 8th and 10th] all the little things matter,” added Borick.

Also, on Facebook, Skippack resident Debbie Jr. “D.J.” McGinley said, “I was independent. I always voted Democrat until this election. I changed my party to Republican because of the nonsense. I will vote for Trump no matter what.”

Carole Anne said, “I’m ultra, ultra MAGA now.”

Newtown resident Fred D’Ascenzo said he is “very upset.”

“I am deeply upset by the verdict, beyond mad and very concerned about the future of this country,” said D’Azcenzo. “I would not want to see any president experience this no matter the party. It does have the appearance of a political hit on Trump. In my opinion, this was a directed verdict by a partisan judge and a politically motivated DA, who stated in his campaign, that he was going after Trump. Can’t make it up.

“I see and hear people praising and celebrating the verdict. We are in trouble. This will divide the country even further,” he added.

“I think it will change people’s minds and alliances on both sides,” said D’Azcenzo. He is “not sure what the outcome will be. There will be people that will say, ‘I am not voting for a convicted felon,’ and there will be people that are so upset that they will change their vote possibly to vote for someone they feel was unjustly vilified.”

Cheltenham resident Myron Goldman said, “I think the Trump trial confirms the corruption of the Justice Department by the Biden administration. I think it’s horrible.”

Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) said on X, “Today marks the first time a former president has been convicted of a crime — in this case 34 felonies. I’m not happy about the crimes, the corruption, or the convictions — yet I am joyful for our democracy. Because no one is above the law. We are a system of laws, not of men.”

Interestingly, Bucks County U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick and his fellow moderate Republican Rep. Tom Kean Jr. across the river in New Jersey have had no comment.

Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland) said, “It will be up to former President Trump to appeal to a higher court or accept the verdict and pay the penalty just as any other person facing a trial of their peers. The path forward seems obvious and the likelihood the upper court would overturn the lower court’s decision on merit is strong.

“The guilty verdict on all counts by the jury raises red flags, making this seem more like a persecution than a prosecution. It should be a wake-up call for Pennsylvanians that the rule of law and the permanency of our republic is at stake and no individual is immune to the consequences of a judicial system influenced by activism,” said Ward.

Republican Scott Presler, a voter registration activist who often visits the state, sees post-verdict opportunity for the GOP in the Keystone State.

“After seeing what happened yesterday, buying a home in Pennsylvania was the best decision I ever made,” said Presler on X Friday. “I’m moving to Pennsylvania just to vote for President Trump. That’s the best investment I could ever make. If you live in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, or another red state, move to Pennsylvania and help save the world.”

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Biden Comes to Montco for 2024 Campaign Kick-off Speech

After his plane touched down at Valley Forge National Park, President Joe Biden figuratively wrapped himself in George Washington’s mantle during his first campaign speech in 2024 at Montgomery County Community College.

Biden drew contrasts with likely Republican nominee, former President Donald Trump, saying if elected again, Trump would be a dictator. Biden pledged he would defend democracy.

“Is democracy still America’s sacred cause?” Biden asked, calling it “the most important question of our time.”

A day before the anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021 riot, Biden blamed Trump for bringing “a mob” to Capitol Hill and for failing to stop the violence of what he labeled an “insurrection.”

“Three years ago tomorrow, we saw with our own eyes the violent mob storm the United States Capitol,” said Biden. “For the first time in our history, insurrectionists have come to stop the peaceful transfer of power in America…smashing windows, shattering doors, attacking police. Outside, the MAGA crowd chanted, ‘Hang Mike Pence.’ Inside, ‘Where’s Nancy?’”

He claimed police officers died “because Donald Trump’s lies brought a mob to Washington.”

“The whole world watched in disbelief [while] Trump did nothing. Members of his family, Republican leaders who were under attack at that very moment, pled with him, ‘Act,’” Biden said.

“It is among the worst derelictions of duty by a president in American history.”

Biden said his campaign was about democracy, which he claimed would be lost if Trump regained power. He portrayed Trump as a monster and compared his rhetoric to Hitler’s.

“In this election year, we must be clear: Democracy is on the ballot,” said Biden. “Your freedom is on the ballot…The freedom to vote and to have your vote counted. The freedom of choice. The freedom of a fair shot. Freedom from fear…The alternative to democracy is dictatorship.”

The speech echoed remarks he made during the height of the 2022 midterm elections when he said Trump’s MAGA supporters embraced “semi-fascism” and the dark, foreboding speech he gave days later in Philadelphia in which he accused Trump voters of practicing “an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”

After Biden’s latest speech accusing Trump backers of endangering democracy, Republicans pushed back. They noted it was Biden’s supporters in Colorado and Maine who took Trump’s name off the ballot, short-circuiting the democratic process. (Those rulings have been suspended pending review). And several other Democrat-run states are in the process of doing the same. And, they note, Democratic parties in at least two states — Florida and North Carolina– refuse to allow Biden challengers Rep. Dean Phillips and author Marianne Williamson to appear on the ballot in their primary.

And Biden stripped Iowa and New Hampshire of their places at the front of the primary calendar, allowing him to avoid high-profile early contests in two states he lost badly in 2020.

As a result, Republican critics say, it’s Biden who’s undermining democracy and fanning the flames of division.

Christian Nascimento, chair of the Montgomery County Republicans, said, “The president is using divisive events in our history to try and divide us further and take attention away from the fact that under his presidency, inflation is worse in the world is less safe.”

Delaware County GOP Chair Frank Agovino said, “Residents of Delaware County do not trust President Biden with very much. That is clear. The more he personally attacks former President Trump, the more people become uncertain of all the allegations surrounding him. Ultimately, the American people will decide Trump’s guilt or innocence and will care very little about President Biden’s speech on Jan. 6 or any other day.”

And Christine Flowers, a Philadelphia conservative pundit who writes for DVJournal, said, “To me, Joe Biden is the one who needs a few lessons in the history of democracy because his constant hysterical attacks on those who disagree with him are not conducive to that unity that he seems to treasure.”

Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) said on MSNBC, “Democracy and freedom are very much central to the question of who the next president should be. And clearly, it is on the ballot and has been for the last couple of cycles.”

“Pennsylvanians have a unique role with democracy and freedom, that is seeds being planted by William Penn that were insured and grown at that field in Valley Forge where Washington and his band of patriots made sure that that dream of freedom and democracy could continue on with (Benjamin) Franklin, and (civil rights activist) Cecil B. Moore and others who have stepped up at times when we’ve been tested…”

Charlotte Valyo, chair of the Chester County Democrats, called the speech “stirring and powerful.”

“Biden accurately described former president Trump and his ‘MAGA’ movement as anti-democratic when he refused to concede the 2020 election and led the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection in Washington D.C. Biden contrasted that event with the peaceful turnover of presidential powers that began with George Washington after his two terms and continued over two hundred years until Trump’s refusal to do so. Biden stressed the importance of defending the Constitution and the rule of law, comparing that with Trump’s refusal to end the attack and his promise to pardon insurrectionists who brutally attacked the Capitol.

“Finally, I am pleased that the country’s economy has recovered quickly from the disaster that Trump left, that Biden has built America back better, and that he is on the campaign trail talking clearly about the threats that a second Trump presidency would bring,” Valyo said.

Joe Foster, a Democratic state committeeman and former Montgomery County Democratic chairman, said, “The speech was precisely what the people needed to hear. That we are living in dangerous times (if) led by a dangerous man…I also believed it was well delivered, and I trust it will end the nonsense questioning his willingness and ability to continue to serve as president.”

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel also weighed in.

“The soul of America has been crushed under the weight of Joe Biden’s failures. While families can’t pay their bills, children are dying from fentanyl overdoses, terror suspects are crossing the open southern border, and Americans are still being held hostage by Hamas, Biden wants to further divide Americans with polarizing rhetoric to distract from his catastrophic policies. Biden has done enough damage – no one can take four more years.”

 

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