PHILADELPHIA — President Biden on Tuesday slammed Republicans’ efforts to enact voting restrictions in two dozen states and called out former President Donald Trump for spreading misinformation about the 2020 election.
Speaking from the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Biden took direct aim at the former president, calling out the fact he can’t seem to get over an election he lost fair and square a month ago.
“You don’t call facts ‘fake’ and then try to bring down the American experiment just because you’re unhappy. That’s not statesmanship,” he said. “That’s selfishness. That’s not democracy; it’s the denial of the right to vote.”
The big lie is just that — a big lie,” he added.
Biden has been under pressure from both Democrats and voting rights advocates to be more aggressive in his efforts to take action as Republicans issue a wave of voting restriction laws, fueled by Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election.
The President called on Republicans in Congress to stand up to Trump and help protect the “sacred right to vote.”
“Have you no shame?” he asked.
Biden renewed his call on Congress to pass the Voting Right Act as well as the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
“We must pass the For the People Act, it’s a national imperative,” he said.
Biden did not mention reforming the filibuster in his speech, something lawmakers and advocates have repeatedly called for. Currently, Moderate Democrats are against the idea but several advocates have said passing federal legislation is the only way to ensure the President’s voting bill is passed and signed into law.
When asked by reporters why he did not mention the word in his speech, Biden said, “I’m not filibustering now.”
Biden’s speech comes just 24 hours after Texas Democrats fled the state and flew to Washington as part of a last-ditch effort to block a restrictive new voting law from being passed by the Republican-controlled state Legislature.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has said the 58 Democrats who fled the state will be arrested upon their return.
“They want to make it so hard and inconvenient that people don’t vote at all,” Biden said. “The 21st century Jim Crow assault is real, it’s unrelenting and we’re going to challenge it vigorously.”
Civil Rights leader Al Sharpton spoke to Biden after the speech and said he was “noncommittal” on changing the Senate’s filibuster rules.
“He said, ‘We’re working through, Rev, where we are going to be there.’ He didn’t commit Thursday or today, but that’s what he and I talked about. I waited to bring that up to him,” Sharpton said.