Democrat President Joe Biden faced backlash over the speech that he delivered Thursday evening for its dark and divisive tone, as well as its optics.
Biden repeatedly demonized millions of Americans for their political views, calling them “extremists” who present a threat to the U.S., while simultaneously claiming that he wanted to unite the country.
“The whiplash between Biden’s characterization of his political opponents and his calls for ‘unity’ aren’t hypocrisy,” political commentator Inez Stepman said. “He’s communicating that we – those who [dis]agree with his party – are outside the body politic and the bonds of citizenship. A scary speech for a scary time.”
One picture of Biden that went instantly viral online showed him fuming with anger as he yelled with ominous red lighting against a building in the background with U.S. Marines standing behind him.
Satanic ghoul pic.twitter.com/ekhmIsNWJR
— Allie Beth Stuckey (@conservmillen) September 2, 2022
“Ironic optics for a speech centered on accusing the opposition of authoritarianism,” professor and terrorism expert Max Abrahams tweeted.
Ironic optics for a speech centered on accusing the opposition of authoritarianism. pic.twitter.com/vX82v7FwFx
— Max Abrahms (@MaxAbrahms) September 2, 2022
“Whatever you think of this speech the military is supposed to be apolitical,” CNN’s Brianna Keilar said. “Positioning Marines in uniform behind President Biden for a political speech flies in the face of that. It’s wrong when Democrats do it. It’s wrong when Republicans do it.”
“Not a fan of the lighting tonight,” New York Magazine/HuffPost journalist Yashar Ali tweeted.
Conservative political commentators and analysts and political figures also slammed the optics of Biden’s speech.
“Biden should have just given the speech in German,” American Majority CEO Ned Ryun tweeted.
Chad Gilmartin, who works for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), tweeted: “Why does backdrop for Joe Biden’s so-called optimistic speech look like the Soviet sector of East Berlin?”
Staging by Leni Riefenstahl. pic.twitter.com/IGRFT11jA1
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) September 2, 2022
Angry man smears half of the people of the country he is supposed to lead & promised to unite pic.twitter.com/Bfa84JBamM
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) September 2, 2022
“Why were U. S. Marines used as a POLITICAL backdrop, by their Commander-in-Chief, during a disunity speech?” Virginia Lt. Governor Winsome Earle-Sears tweeted. “Everyone should be concerned.”
“The picture says it all,” Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) tweeted. “Biden’s presidency has been nothing but gloom & doom for Americans: we are less safe, less prosperous & less free.”
The picture says it all. Biden’s presidency has been nothing but gloom & doom for Americans: we are less safe, less prosperous & less free. pic.twitter.com/YRIDtOTYvr
— Nicole Malliotakis (@NMalliotakis) September 2, 2022
Former Press Secretary Ari Fleischer tweeted that there was “no difference between Biden’s campaign speech tonight and his 2012 message that the GOP under Romney wants to ‘put y’all back in chains’.”
“Biden is the most divisive, over the top, rhetorically vile, bumbling, inarticulate president in history,” he added.
This report has been updated to include additional information.