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Joe Biden to crusade for ‘soul of the nation’ in prime time speech Thursday in Philadelphia

President Biden will travel to Philadelphia on Thursday to deliver a speech on his “continued battle for the soul of the nation,” as his campaign rhetoric aims to cast Republicans as anti-democratic extremists ahead of the upcoming midterm elections.

Mr. Biden will deliver his prime-time remarks outside of the Independence National Historical Park, the White House announced Monday.

Mr. Biden, who has often cited the violence surrounding the 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, as spurring his run for president in 2020, pledged during his campaign to be a unifying force and heal the nation’s beleaguered soul.

But critics say Mr. Biden’s presidency has done little to unite the country, and many within the GOP warn that his rhetoric has become decidedly more divisive.

The White House announced Mr. Biden’s speech in Philadelphia on the heels of his remarks last week in which he described Republicans and Mr. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” political agenda as “semi-fascism,” sparking a fierce backlash from GOP figures.

Gov. Larry Hogan said Sunday that President Biden equating Republican policies with America’s World War II enemies was “divisive” and inappropriate — even if, the Maryland Republican said, there is a streak of authoritarianism within the GOP.

Mr. Hogan is one of former President Donald Trump’s harshest critics and has signaled he may mount a bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

“It’s that kind of divisive rhetoric on both sides that’s really bad for America. I’ve been talking about the toxic politics and if Republicans are calling Democrats socialists and communists and we have the president of the United States calling Republicans fascist. I don’t think it adds to the overall discussion,” he said on the CBS political-talk program “Face the Nation.”

Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison refused to denounce the language Sunday and White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre doubled down Friday.

“When you look at the definition of fascism and you think about what [Republicans] are doing in attacking our democracy, what they’re doing in taking away our freedoms, wanting to take away our rights, that is what that is,” she said.

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