In his remarks outside Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, President Joe Biden called for “equality and democracy to be protected.” Nonetheless, people around the country voiced criticism of Biden’s Philadelphia speech, claiming that he stoked division and inflamed partisanship. The uniformed Marines accompanying him were, for most Americans tuning into the prime-time speech, only part of the speech’s backdrop.

Eric Schmitt, Missouri’s Attorney General and Senate candidate, criticized President Biden’s Philadelphia speech as divisive, during an interview with Lisa Boothe. “I think it’s meant to distract from his abysmal record as president,” the attorney general said in the recent interview with the Fox News Contributor. “Look, coming out of the Trump presidency, we had record job growth and wage growth, you had a secure border, you had energy dominance and that has all gone away. And you now have record inflation. You have a struggling economy,” Schmitt stated.

He went on saying that he believes Biden was “like a Sith Lord,” referring to the image of Biden on the podium flanked by armed marines against a red background. “So all [Biden] has left is a really an [sic] unprecedented assault by an American president on half of the country. That is essentially categorizing 75 million people as the enemy,” Schmitt declared in the interview, per report on Daily Caller.

CNN anchor Brian Keilar called out the approach of the speech for the politicization of the military. “Whatever you think of this speech the military is supposed to be apolitical. Positioning Marines in uniform behind President Biden for a political speech flies in the face of that. It’s wrong when Democrats do it. It’s wrong when Republicans do it,” Keilar said in a tweet.

In her introduction to the interview, Boothe compared the feelings Trump voters might have about Biden’s rhetoric to those the Jewish people had in the years leading up to the Holocaust in Germany. “I don’t think we’re heading down that path, but it’s always instructive to look at history. You can look at Holocaust survivors like Paul Herzig, and he said that he remembers the precise moment he was made to feel fundamentally different,” Boothe stated during the podcast.

On the following morning, Allison Jaslaw, the former executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said “I think it’s very clear that a political message was being elevated through this event.”

She added, “I agree with the President’s message, and I’m glad that he is speaking up in this way. That doesn’t make it right that they picked, you know, window dressing for their event that included Marines in it.”

According to a recent Trafalgar Group/Convention of States Action poll, a majority of Americans consider Biden’s speech a “dangerous escalation in rhetoric.”

Asked about the criticism, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre dismissed it, explaining why Marines were featured. It “was intended to demonstrate the deep and abiding respect the President has for these services — service members, to these ideals and the unique role our independent military plays in defending our democracy, no matter which party is in power,” she stated.

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