Target MAGA? Something dangerous happening in America now, says Biden

In a stark warning about the ongoing existential threats to US democracy, President Joe Biden said "there's something dangerous happening in America now".

In an address on Thursday in Arizona to honour his late friend Republican Senator John McCain, the President said: "There's an extremist movement that does not share the basic beliefs of our democracy: The MAGA movement."

Using the acronym for former President Donald Trump's political movement, "Make America Great Again", Biden went on to say that "there's no question that today's Republican Party is driven and intimidated by MAGA Republican extremists", CNN reported.

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"Their extreme agenda, if carried out, would fundamentally alter the institutions of American democracy as we know it." The warnings came a day after seven candidates sparred on Wednesday during the second Republican presidential debate, which Trump skipped.

This was the first time Biden publicly called out his predecessor's antidemocratic behavior since the latter was criminally charged for his attempts to subvert the 2020 election results. He said the former President was guided by "vengeance and vindictiveness" and not by the "Constitution or decency".

"Trump says the Constitution gave him the right to do whatever he wants as President... I've never heard presidents say that in jest," CNN quoted Biden as saying. He also referred to Trump's recent suggestion that chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley could be executed, saying that Republican silence on the comment was "deafening".

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"We should all remember: Democracies don't have to die at the end of a rifle. They can die when people are silent, when they fail to stand up." Also during his address, the President called McCain, whom Biden was friends with for decades, a "brother" and announced funding to construct the McCain Library.

Biden's remarks came at a moment of political uncertainty, as he faces persistent questions about his age and an indictment of his son, Hunter. House Republicans also held their first hearing in an impeachment inquiry into the President on Thursday.

(With inputs from IANS)