President Joe Biden got testy with a climate activist Thursday during a democracy-focused speech at Arizona State University in which he honored the late John McCain, his former Senate colleague and the 2008 Republican presidential candidate.
Biden, who formally announced the creation of the John S. McCain III National Library on the Tempe campus of Arizona State, was visiting Arizona after a fundraising stop in San Francisco. It also was on the day of the first House hearing of its impeachment inquiry into him.
About 15 minutes into his speech, Biden was talking about how democracy is never easy when someone shouted, “Why have you yet to declare a climate emergency?” The crowd reacted with boos and shouts of “No!”
The president stopped his speech, while the person shouted twice, “Hundreds of Arizonans have died.”
“Why don’t you wait … hang on a second,” Biden said. “I’ll be happy to meet with you after I speak, OK?”
The person continued, “You promised no drilling of fossil fuels. Why have you yet to declare a climate emergency? We need your leadership, President Biden.”
Biden lowered his head and appeared to gather himself before saying, “Well, I tell you what, if you shush up, I’ll meet with you immediately after this, OK?”
The crowd erupted in applause and Biden continued his speech, during which he took aim at “extremists” in the Republican Party, a window into his possible campaign strategy for reelection.
“There’s no question that today’s Republican Party is driven and intimidated by MAGA Republican extremists,” Biden said. “Their extreme agenda, if carried out, would fundamentally alter the institutions of American democracy as we know it.
“My friends, they’re not hiding in their attacks. They are openly promoting them, attacking the free press as the enemy of the people. Attacking the rule of law is an impediment, fomenting voter suppression and election subversion.”
Michael Katz ✉
Michael Katz is a Newsmax reporter with more than 30 years of experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and politics.
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