Watch: President Biden’s full speech at Independence Hall

Watch: President Biden’s full speech at Independence Hall


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — President Joe Biden, speaking from Independence Hall in Philadelphia, says “too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal” during a speech that was coined as “the continued battle for the soul of the nation.”

“Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal. Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic,” Biden said. “I want to be very clear, very clear upfront. Not every Republican, not even the majority of Republicans are MAGA Republicans. Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology.”

“But there is no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven and intimated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans,” Biden said, “and that is a threat to this country.”

Biden also called for the end of political violence and vowed to defend American democracy “with every fiber of my being.”

“America is an idea, the most powerful idea in the history of the world,” Biden said, “and it beats in the hearts of the people in this country.”

Watch: President Biden’s full speech at Independence Hall


Crews were setting up the stage and seating area at Independence Hall for two days.

The White House says the reason why the president spoke here is because this is where American democracy began. Independence Hall is where the Constitution was written and signed.

While there is a lot of history in the area, it’s also a neighborhood.

People who live here say they were excited about hosting the president.

“I’m very excited,” Nils Van Ammers said. “It’s not that presidents haven’t been here before, but it’s a privilege.”

Anticipation was high as crews put the finishing touches on Biden’s stage.

“I think it’s very exciting to be in this beautiful city that’s so historic,” Marian Bradley said, “and to bring the modern element into it now.”

The speech was coined as being “The Continued Battle For The Soul of the Nation.” It focused on the opportunities and possibilities moving forward, and it also covered topics the president sees as threatening democracy.

Eyewitness News asked people at Independence Hall what issues they’d like the president to cover.

“The main thing is to stop this gun violence,” Eugene Mitchell said. “I would love to see that, the gun violence. He says he’s getting bid firearms, assault weapons and what have you, so that is what I’m looking forward to.”

“I think we the people have to pay better attention,” Van Ammers said, “and not get caught up in left and right stuff.”

White House officials said the president has been planning this speech for a while, and it will not be focused on the news of the day.

White House officials also say it will kick off the president’s campaign season ahead of the midterm elections.

Albert Eisenberg, a local conservative political consultant, says he will be watching Pennsylvania’s Senate election closely.

“The stakes people make out of these races can really contribute to way too much aggression and energy,” Eisenberg said, “but I certainly hope Republicans hold this seat.”

The speech was by invitation only. Among those attendees are, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf with his wife and Mayor Jim Kenney.

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