The Biden administration shrugged off concerns it was threatening MAGA Republicans, defending the presence of two U.S. Marines on screen behind the president in a Thursday speech.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre argued Friday that the service members behind President Joe Biden during his prime-time speech in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, were not intended to stoke fear.
"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," Jean-Pierre told reporters.
The fears had partially arisen from the content of Biden's speech, where he built on earlier comments made against a self-described "extreme MAGA philosophy" by calling former President Donald Trump and his allies "a threat to this country."
Jean-Pierre claimed that the presence of military personnel behind presidents was "not abnormal," saying the display "is actually normal, for presidents from either side of the aisle to give speeches in front of members of the military."
"The president gave an important speech last night, a critical speech at an inflection point, and our democracy, our values, our values that our men and women who protect us every day and fight for every day believe in as well," she stated.
The statement follows one by White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates on Thursday evening when he pushed back on Twitter against journalists who suggested the speech had partisan undertones.
"Since 1/6, countless nonpartisan reporters, credible voices across the political spectrum, and @POTUS have highlighted the unprecedented threats to democracy posed by the actions of a segment of extreme GOP officeholders," Bates wrote. "These accurate warnings are the opposite of 'political.'"
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