WH defends Biden’s speech on threat to democracy, saying it wasn’t political

During the White House briefing on Friday, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Biden’s recent speech, in which he outlined threats to democracy in America, was not political. “Standing up for democracy is not political. Denouncing political violence is not political,” Jean-Pierre said.

Video transcript

- I know you guys have addressed this to a certain extent, but because you're behind the podium, if you could address the criticisms and the questions about why the President delivered what sounded very much like a politically charged speech as an official White House event, taxpayer funded, with two Marines in uniform in particular flanking him and visible on camera throughout the speech.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: So I'll take your first question. Look, the way we see it here, and I would argue the way many Americans across the country see it is standing up for democracy is not political. Denouncing political violence is not political. Defending rights and freedom is not political. Making clear that the challenges facing the nation is not political. We don't call any of that political. We see that as leadership. And we see that as presidential.

To your question about the Marines, look, the President gave an important speech last night, a critical speech, in an added inflection point. And our democracy, our values, are values that are men and women who protect us every day and fight for every day believe in as well.

The presence of the Marines at the speech was intended to demonstrate the deep and abiding respect the President has for these service members to these ideals and the unique role our independent military plays in defending our democracy, no matter which party is in power, again, no matter which party is in power.

And it is not abnormal. It is actually normal for presidents from either side of the aisle to give speeches in front of members of the military and including President Ronald Reagan, President George H.W Bush. It is not an unusual sight or is not an unusual event to have happened.