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Republicans attack administration agenda in response to Biden’s ‘soul of the nation’ address

Prominent Republicans assailed President Joe Biden’s prime-time swipe at MAGA forces in the GOP on Thursday.

Following Biden’s address in Philadelphia, Republican lawmakers quickly sought to turn the debate from former President Donald Trump’s influence on the party back to the administration’s policies.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a staunch Trump ally, tweeted, “With all due respect Mr. President, there’s nothing wrong with America’s soul. The American people are hurting because of your policies.” He continued to list issues including “rampant inflation,” “out of control crime,” “terrorism on the rise,” and “broken borders.”

“Stop lecturing & change your policies before it’s too late,” he added.

Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) echoed Graham’s critiques in a long thread in which he tweeted, “What would help the ‘soul of the nation’ much more than a condescending lecture from President Biden is getting inflation under control instead of actively spending more money to make it worse.”

Hagerty’s state colleague, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, condemned Biden’s use of political language, saying he “attacked” Republicans “to distract from the fact his economic agenda caused inflation to reach a historic 40-year high and sent our economy into a recession.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy set the GOP’s tone in his pre-buttal delivered before the president gave his address, declaring that “When the president speaks tonight at Independence Hall the first lines out of his mouth should be to apologize for slandering tens of millions of Americans as fascists.”

Biden in his speech repeatedly called for unity and drew on themes of patriotism and democracy as the foundations of the country — at one point declaring himself “an American president, not a president of red America or blue America.” He also maintained that he was not condemning the entire GOP, nor did he believe that “MAGA Republicans” represented every Republican.

“Not every Republican, not even the majority of Republicans are MAGA Republicans. Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology. I know because I’ve been able to work with these mainstream Republicans,” Biden said. “But there’s no question that the Republican party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans. And that is a threat to this country.”

Meanwhile, Democrats praised Biden’s calls for unity. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) tweeted that the president “spoke passionately about what it means to put people over politics” and that “MAGA Republicans want to divide our nation.”

“Democrats are fighting to strengthen our democracy. The soul of America will prevail and we will continue our march toward a more perfect union,” Clyburn added.

Other Democrats, such as Reps. Terri Sewell of Alabama and Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware, promoted Biden’s message that democracy is at stake and needs to be fought for.

“Equality and democracy in America are under assault,” Sewell tweeted. “We as Americans must join together to defend our democracy, protect the sacred right to vote, and move our nation forward toward a more equitable and prosperous future!”

Hawaii’s Brian Schatz echoed those sentiments, tweeting, “Politics ought to be a substitute for violence, not a gateway to it.”

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