President Biden on Thursday again questioned what Republicans “are for” and suggested that they “don’t stand for anything.”
Biden’s comments came during remarks at a virtual Democratic National Committee grassroots event on Thursday evening, in which he said he and Vice President Kamala Harris are “deeply disappointed” but “not deterred” by the Senate’s failure to pass his party’s “voting rights” legislation on Wednesday night.
Despite the long odds, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) chose to push forward a vote on the elections package, which joined together two bills that Republicans blocked last year: the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. The former would federalize some facets of elections, including setting a 15-day minimum early-voting period and setting national standards for voter-ID laws to include a range of documentation. The latter would restore portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that allowed the Justice Department to review election-rule changes in districts with a history of discrimination.
“We’re going to stand up to the big lie and the Republican efforts for voter suppression and . . . election subversion,” Biden said Thursday evening. “That’s what they’re doing, and we’re going to stand up, protect the right to vote and have that vote counted. That’s what the Republicans are trying to take away.”
He went on to say that Democrats have “proposed answers to the challenges we face” including Covid-19 and inflation, which he claimed is the difference between Democrats and the GOP.
The president dismissed those who have called him out on not fulfilling his campaign promises, arguing that he did not make promises but proposals and that in the evenly divided Senate, senators essentially become presidents with the ability to obstruct policies that they disagree with. Still, he claimed Democrats are largely united, with 48 of the 50 Democrats voting with him on everything and the other two — Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema — voting with him on “80 percent of everything.”
Democrats know what they’re for, he claimed, “but ask yourself the question . . . what are Republicans for? What are they for? It’s no accident they didn’t even bother to come up with a platform in 2020. They had no platform at their convention because they don’t stand for anything — except to stop us.”
The remarks were reminiscent of comments he made at his solo press conference on Wednesday. At both events he touted a recent interview that New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu did with the Washington Examiner in which the Republican governor said he chose not to run for the Senate because he didn’t want to be a “roadblock” to Biden for two years.
Sununu said he decided not to run for Senate after hearing Republicans’ plan for the next two years: “They were all, for the most part, content with the speed at which they weren’t doing anything. It was very clear that we just have to hold the line for two years. Okay, so I’m just going to be a roadblock for two years. That’s not what I do,” Sununu said.
“It bothered me that they were okay with that,” he added.
On Wednesday, Biden said he “did not anticipate that there would be such a stalwart effort to make sure that the most important thing was that President Biden didn’t get anything done.”