Gov. Hutchinson: Biden's Speech Was 'Not Presidential'; 'Political Mistake,' Says Sen. Kennedy

Susan Jones | September 2, 2022 | 9:52am EDT
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President Joe Biden slams his political opponents as a "threat to democracy" at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on September 1, 2022. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
President Joe Biden slams his political opponents as a "threat to democracy" at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on September 1, 2022. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

( - A number of Republicans, on Twitter and in television interviews, said President Joe Biden delivered a political and divisive speech unbecoming of the nation's leader.

Speaking Thursday night at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Biden called Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans "a threat to this country."

"MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution. They do not believe in the rule of law," Biden said. "They do not recognize the will of the people. They refuse to accept the results of a free election. And they’re working right now, as I speak, in state after state to give power to decide elections in America to partisans and cronies, empowering election deniers to undermine democracy itself."

"Well, I think it was a political speech," Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) told CNN on Friday morning:

"It was a divisive speech, and that's not presidential. And I said repeatedly that we should not be dwelling upon the last election, we need to be looking at the future and solving problems, and here the president comes out, and he simply talks about the last election and the divisiveness and attacks a segment of America and that's not unifying.

Biden accused MAGA Republicans of trying to "nullify the votes of 81 million people," and he said "they’re determined to succeed in thwarting the will of the people" in future elections.

"In his speech, he said we should look at each other as Americans and not enemies, and yet he singled out a segment of Americans and said basically they're our enemy. I don't think it was a presidential speech I don't think it will be well received. It was divisive," Hutchinson said.

"And that's very troubling to me whenever you aren't addressing the serious issues from border security to inflation that he's responsible for and needs to provide answers for."

Hutchinson compared Biden's divisive and angry speech with one given long ago by one-term President Jimmy Carter:

"But I remember back in the time when Jimmy Carter was president, and he gave what they called the malaise speech. He never mentioned that word, but he talked about the crisis of confidence in America. Well, he was derided for that speech. It became known as the malaise speech.

"I think this speech of President Biden will have a similar impact. It's going to be derided over time as the threat speech, as the divisive speech, and that's not a good look for America.

"I have a lot of confidence in where we're going. And that we can overcome the challenges that we see today, but we need optimistic leaders that dwell upon the future and present answers and problem solving and not the past."

Summing up, Hutchinson said, "My response is to the president, let's talk about the issues of today and the future. America's a great country, we can unify ourselves, but we don't need the debates over what happened in 2020. And so that's my response to it."

Appearing on Fox News Friday morning, Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said Biden's speech sounded like a "long-winded" definition of the people Hillary Clinton once derided as "deplorables."

"The people that President Biden is talking about -- some of whom supported President Trump, some didn't -- are the people that get up every day, go to work, pay their taxes, try to teach their kids morals,” Kennedy said.

“They are part of America. They do want to make America great again. They just don't agree with President Biden's neo-socialist, woke agenda.

"They don't believe in bigger government. They don't believe in higher taxes. They don't believe in more spending. They don't believe in more regulation. They don't believe in more debt. They don't believe we ought to turn our cops into social workers. They don't believe that stuff.

"And I think -- I'm very disappointed that the president would call people who don't agree with him those kind of names. I think he's made a political mistake, but it says something about his administration."

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