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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

At rally in Atlanta, Biden attacks Trump by name




By Nicholas Hehamas


At his State of the Union address on Thursday, President Joe Biden attacked former President Donald Trump, the likely Republican presidential nominee, but he never said his name.


On Saturday, at a campaign rally in Atlanta, Biden felt no such restraint. He lashed out directly at Trump, who was holding his own rally 90 minutes to the northwest, where Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. — who interrupted the president during his address to Congress — was one of the speakers.


“Here’s a guy who’s kicking off his general-election campaign up the road with Marjorie Taylor Greene,” Biden said near the beginning of his speech. “It can tell you a lot about a person who he keeps company with.”


Biden then criticized Trump for hosting Viktor Orban, the leader of Hungary, at his Mar-a-Lago club, in Palm Beach, Florida. on Friday, saying that the two men shared similar autocratic tendencies.


“When he says he wants to be a dictator, I believe him,” Biden said of the former president.


For Biden, the rally offered the chance to prove that his high-volume, high-energy State of the Union performance was no fluke. Dogged by questions about his age, Biden delivered a loud and lively 20-minute speech before a crowd of several hundred people at an event space inside an Atlanta warehouse, the day after putting on a similar showing outside Philadelphia. Earlier Saturday, his campaign released an ad in which Biden poked fun at his age.


At a competing rally in Rome, Georgia, Trump struck back, assailing the president’s strikingly political State of the Union address and calling it an “angry, dark, hate-filled rant.” He then made fun of Biden’s stutter, slurring his words in a mocking imitation.


Georgia is a key battleground state, and Biden won it by fewer than 12,000 votes in 2020. On Tuesday, the state will hold its Democratic and Republican presidential primaries, although the results are all but a foregone conclusion. Biden and Trump are almost certain to be the nominees. Still, both are struggling to tame rebellious wings within their parties.


In the Republican nominating contests, Trump has shown signs that he is struggling in moderate, suburban areas. On the Democratic side, Biden has faced a growing protest-vote movement from those angry over his support for Israel in its war in the Gaza Strip.


On Saturday, the president got a reminder of that outrage when a protester interrupted his speech, shouting “Genocide Joe” before the crowd’s chants of “Four more years!” drowned the man out and security removed him. Such protests have been a regular disruption at Biden’s public appearances, and the incident seemed to throw the president off, if only for a moment.


He was soon back to taking shots at Trump.


One line of attack he did not pursue, however, was the former president’s criminal indictments. Georgia is one of the four jurisdictions where Trump is facing charges, having been accused in an indictment last year of orchestrating a “criminal enterprise” to reverse the results of the state’s 2020 vote.


Biden has been notably silent about his rival’s legal woes — which Trump has said, without evidence, are politically motivated — even when the setting would seem to invite such an attack. His rally Saturday took place just a few miles from the Fulton County Jail, where last year Trump was booked and had a glowering mug shot taken.

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