Biden steps up his re-election campaign – speech on the anniversary of the storming of the Capitol

At the beginning of the election year in the USA, President Joe Biden is trying to gain momentum for his re-election campaign. On Friday (3:15 p.m. local time, 9:15 p.m. CET) Biden wanted to give a speech on the third anniversary of the storming of the Capitol by radical supporters of his rival Donald Trump, who is also seeking a second term in the White House. In the speech, Biden wanted to warn of a threat to US democracy from the right-wing populist.

Before the speech, Biden’s campaign team released a new spot. In the one-minute film, the Democrat warns of an “extremist movement that does not share the fundamental beliefs of our democracy.” Although the president does not mention Trump by name in the spot, which is set to dramatic music, images of the attack on the Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021 are shown, among other things.

Biden recently recorded miserable approval ratings of less than 40 percent – despite improvements in the US economic situation – and his re-election campaign has not yet really gained momentum. In the election campaign ad he presents himself as the guardian of the constitutional order. “I have made the preservation of American democracy a key theme of my presidency,” says the 81-year-old.

In his speech on Friday in a school in the town of Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, Biden also wanted to describe his right-wing rival Trump as an existential threat to US democracy. The location was chosen because of its historical references. Blue Bell is located near Valley Forge, where the future first US President George Washington camped with his troops in the Revolutionary War against the British colonial rulers in the winter of 1777-78.

Biden’s address was originally scheduled for the anniversary of the storming of the Capitol on Saturday, but was brought forward due to an impending winter storm. On January 6, 2021, fanatical Trump supporters broke into the Capitol in Washington – the seat of Congress – to prevent the formal confirmation of Biden’s election victory over Trump. Trump had previously fired up his supporters in an angry speech.

Because of his attempts to overturn the election results, Trump was indicted twice, by the federal judiciary and in the state of Georgia. The trials could begin in the coming months and thus in the middle of the election campaign.

Trump faces additional charges, but his legal entanglements have not hurt him in the presidential race so far. The right-wing populist uses his court dates for election campaign appearances in which he portrays himself as a victim of a justice system motivated by party politics. In the national polls, Trump and Biden are roughly tied. In several of the states considered crucial to the election – the so-called swing states – Trump was recently ahead of the president.

The 77-year-old is the clear favorite in the Republicans’ internal race for the presidential nomination. With an average rating of more than 60 percent in the surveys, he is well ahead of his six competitors. The month-long series of primaries to select presidential candidates begins on January 15 in the state of Iowa, where Republicans will vote on the candidates.

Trump planned a series of rallies in Iowa for Friday evening (local time) and the following days. His two strongest internal rivals, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former ambassador Nikki Haley, appeared together at an event in the Midwestern state on Thursday. Haley warned of “chaos” if Trump moved back into the White House. She was a member of the Trump administration team as ambassador to the UN.

Haley, who was also formerly governor of South Carolina, also referred to surveys that show she is ahead of Biden in a national comparison – and therefore doing better than Trump. However, in the surveys on Republicans’ internal competition, Haley is far behind Trump, with an average of around eleven percent.

Biden also has to face the primaries, but has no serious competitors, so his re-nomination is almost certain. The presidential candidates will be officially chosen by Democrats and Republicans after the end of the primaries at party conferences in the summer.