Biden to address MAGA movement while announcing John McCain library in Arizona

September 28, 2023

President Biden on Thursday was set to announce the construction of a library to honor the late Vietnam war hero, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). 

In prepared remarks, Biden was expected to call the McCain Institute and Library “an institute devoted to the defense of democracy named in honor of a true patriot.”

McCain, who passed away in 2018, was taken by the North Vietnamese as a prisoner of war when his plane was shot down over Hanoi in 1967.  He spent five and a half years under torture at the infamous prison known as the “Hanoi Hilton.”

Since he was a prominent Navy Admiral at the time, the North Vietnamese offered to release him early, ahead of his fellow service members. McCain refused. 

After serving four years in the House of Representatives, from 1983-1987, McCain served another 31 years in the Senate, until his death.

McCain’s passing was deeply personal for Biden, who lost his son Beau to brain cancer, as did McCain.

After honoring McCain, Biden was to shift his speech in Tempe, Arizona to “something dangerous happening in America.”

“Not every Republican—not even the majority of Republicans—adhere to the extremist MAGA ideology,” Biden would say according to remarks. “But there is no question that today’s Republican Party is driven and intimidated by MAGA extremists.  Their extreme agenda, if carried out, would fundamentally alter the institutions of American Democracy as we know it.” 

Biden was set be joined Thursday by McCain’s widow, Cindy McCain, who endorsed Biden in 2020, as well as Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) and members of the Arizona delegation. 

President Biden’s remarks were scheduled for 2:45pm ET or 11:45am local time. They can be viewed here.

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