US president Joe Biden attacked the Trump movement as the “most extreme political organisation” that has existed in recent American history, sharpening his criticism of the former president’s hold on the Republican party in the wake of revelations over the conservative-led Supreme Court’s likely move to gut abortion rights.
Biden’s comments on Wednesday morning came as Democrats have expressed outrage at the leaked draft of a Supreme Court opinion that heralded a move by the justices to strike down Roe vs Wade, the 1973 legal precedent that guaranteed abortion rights in the US.
The publication of the document could upend the political dynamic ahead of November’s midterm elections, offering Democrats an opportunity to energise their base and portray Republicans as drifting dangerously to the right and increasingly influenced by Donald Trump.
Biden and his top officials have said the significance of a possible move by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs Wade would extend far beyond the question of abortion rights to other areas in which the privacy of individuals might be undermined.
The Supreme Court’s balance of power tilted decisively in favour of staunchly conservative justices after Trump’s three nominees to the court — Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — were confirmed by a Republican-controlled Senate.
“What happens if you have a state law saying that children who are LGBTQ can’t be in classrooms with other children?” Biden said in a speech at the White House. “Is that legit under the way the decision is written? What are the next things that are going to be attacked?”
“This Maga [Make America Great Again] crowd is really the most extreme political organisation that’s existed in American history — in recent American history,” he added.
With his approval ratings still in the oldrumsparticularly because of voter discontent about his handling of the economy and high inflation, Biden and the Democrats are increasingly counting on campaigning for the 2022 midterm elections by drawing a contrast with their opponents more than defending their record.
Biden also criticised an 11-point plan released by Rick Scott, the Florida Republican who is leading his party’s efforts to regain control of the Senate, as an “ultra-Maga agenda” that was “extreme, as most Maga things are”.
Scott’s plan seeks to counter what it calls Democratic efforts to “change or destroy” everything from the “nuclear family” to “Judeo-Christian values”. It would include sharp cuts to the social safety net and force all Americans to pay income tax, even though many lower-income households do not owe any income tax under current law.
Biden said: “Meanwhile, millionaires and billionaires and corporations skate by. Just imagine that. I think it is truly outrageous.”
Biden’s comments came a day after Trump’s enduring grip on the Republican party was confirmed by the results of the Senate primary in Ohiowhere JD Vance, the candidate backed by the former president, prevailed, setting up a general election matchup with Democrat Tim Ryan.
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said Biden had been struck by Trump’s control over the Republican party and in the coming weeks would reprise his 2020 campaign mantra of telling voters not to compare him to the “Almighty” but to the “alternative”.
“The latest antics make clear that they are at war with Mickey Mouse,” Psaki said, referring to Florida governor Ron DeSantis’ row with Disney“They’re against allowing women to make choices about their own healthcare, against lowering the cost of prescription drugs. If that remains their platform, the president’s view is that it’s out of whack with the mainstream of the country.”