ARIZONA NEWS

Watch: President Joe Biden speaks in Tempe on state of democracy, McCain’s legacy

Sep 28, 2023, 11:46 AM | Updated: 1:08 pm

PHOENIX — President Joe Biden spoke on the state of democracy and the legacy of late Arizona political icon John McCain in Tempe on Thursday.

Biden revived warnings that Donald Trump and his allies represent an existential threat to the country’s democratic institutions.

“There is an extremist movement that does not share the basic beliefs of our democracy. The MAGA movement,” Biden says in excerpts of the speech released in advance by the White House, referring Trump’s Make America Great Again slogan.

Although voting in the 2024 Republican primary doesn’t begin for months, Biden’s focus reflects Trump’s status as the undisputed front-runner for his party’s nomination despite facing four indictments, two of them related to his attempts to overturn Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.

Biden’s speech is his fourth in a series of presidential addresses on the state of democracy, a cause that is a touchstone for him as he tries to remain in office even in the face of low approval ratings and widespread concern from voters about his age, 80.

The location for Thursday’s speech, as was the case for the others, was chosen for effect. It will be near Arizona State University, which houses the McCain Institute, named after McCain — a friend of Biden and the 2008 Republican presidential nominee who spent his public life denouncing autocrats around the globe.

Biden will announce the creation of the McCain National Library dedicated to the longtime U.S. senator during the speech. The late senator’s wife, Cindy McCain and other members of their family are slated to attend.

“I have come to honor the McCain Institute and Library because they are home to a proud Republican who put country first,” Biden says in the excerpts. “Our commitment should be no less because democracy should unite all Americans – regardless of political affiliation.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Watch: President Joe Biden speaks in Tempe on state of democracy, McCain’s legacy