President Joe Biden to hold primetime speech in Philly

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden removes his face mask as he arrives at Wilkes-Barre Scranton International airport, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, in Avoca, Pa.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President Joe Biden will be in Philadelphia on Thursday night to deliver a major, primetime speech, during which he will discuss the need to fight to maintain democracy, White House officials have said.

Biden, who was in Pennsylvania on Tuesday and will be in Pittsburgh on Labor Day, is scheduled to speak at around 8 p.m. in front of Independence Hall in Old City.

“He will speak about how the core values of this nation, our standing in the world, our democracy are at stake,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

She added that Biden will talk about “how our rights and freedoms are still under attack and how we will make clear who is fighting for those rights, fighting for those freedoms, and fighting for our democracy.”

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Biden emphasized similar topics during his 2020 campaign when he stopped in the Philadelphia area frequently in the run-up to Election Day.

The president’s visit comes about two months before the midterm elections, which, in Pennsylvania, include high-profile races for U.S. Senate and governor.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the Democratic candidate for governor, joined Biden at an event focused on crime prevention Tuesday at Wilkes University.

Biden addressed criticisms of the FBI following the agency’s Aug. 8 raid of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

“It’s sickening to see the new attacks on the FBI, threatening the life of law enforcement and their families, for simply carrying out the law and doing their job,” he said. “I’m opposed to defunding the police; I’m also opposed to defunding the FBI.”

Trump is set to hold a rally Saturday in Wilkes-Barre alongside Republican gubernatorial nominee state Sen. Doug Mastriano and Senate hopeful Mehmet Oz.

“This Save America rally is a continuation of President Trump’s unprecedented effort to advance the MAGA agenda by energizing voters and highlighting America First candidates and causes,” Trump’s website says.

The Independence Hall speech kicks off a busy stretch of days in Philadelphia, with the Made in America music festival set to take over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway this weekend.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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