During Friday's White House press conference, Biden press secretary Jen Psaki was questioned about a statement that President Joe Biden said during his "voting rights" speech delivered in Georgia earlier this week, comparing those that don't agree to historical figures that include Confederate leaders.
"As you talked about, a year ago and working with Republicans, now he is talking about Republicans that don't agree with voting rights, that he's describing them as George Wallace, Bull Connor and Jefferson Davis. What happened to the guy who, when he was elected, said, 'to make progress, we must stop treating our opponents as our enemy,'" said Peter Doocy of Fox News.
Doocy was referring to a quote from Biden, who said during his heavily-criticized speech in Atlanta on protecting the right to vote, "So, I ask every elected official in America: How do you want to be remembered?"
"At consequential moments in history, they present a choice: Do you want to be the si — on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace? Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?" Biden said. "This is the moment to decide to defend our elections, to defend our democracy," he added.
Psaki responded by stating that Biden was not directly comparing these leaders to those listed from the past, but rather their choices.
"I think everybody listening to that speech, who's speaking on the level, as my mother would say, would note that he was not comparing them as humans. He was comparing the choice to those figures in history and where they're going to position themselves if they — as they determine whether they're going to support the fundamental right to vote or not," said Psaki.
Biden has been slammed for his Tuesday speech, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell calling it "divisive" and "unpresidential."
"Yesterday," Sen. McConnell began, "[Biden] delivered a deliberately divisive speech that was designed to pull our country further apart. Twelve months ago, this president said we should see each other not as adversaries, but as neighbors. Yesterday, he called millions of Americans his domestic enemies."
McConnell went on to point out that while Biden had warned last year that "disagreement must not lead to disunion," during his speech "he invoked the bloody disunion of the Civil War to demonize Americans who disagree with him."
"He compared, a bipartisan majority of senators to literal traitors. How profoundly, profoundly unpresidential," McConnell added
"Look," he continued, "I've known, liked, and personally respected Joe Biden for many years. I did not recognize the man at that podium yesterday."