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Political commentators and journalists gave President Biden mixed reviews on Sunday as some praised his speech that slammed “MAGA Republicans,” while others described it as intentionally “divisive.” 

“I don’t know this calculation, as you put it, to shift the focus to Donald Trump and threats to democracy among extremist Republicans is going to pay off in the long run. And that’s the point that a lot of my Republican sources have made this week on the heels of that speech that Biden gave. Why is he suddenly choosing to focus on this?” CNN’s Gabby Orr said during CNN’s “Inside Politics.” 

Axios managing editor and CNN analyst Margaret Talev suggested Biden’s speech was intentionally “divisive.” 

“I think some of this is about splitting the Republican Party. I mean it is divisive, it’s divisive by nature. That’s the point of the speech. When you use a phrase like ‘MAGA Republicans’ this is clearly poll tested, and it’s to say it’s not the same thing as say Republicans it’s to say there is a different brand of republicanism inside the Republican Party. That’s what Biden is trying to get to and what he’s trying to do is give independents and Republicans a permission structure to split the ticket. Or just to vote democratic or to stay home. That’s what he’s doing in states like Ohio, in states like Pennsylvania, in states like Wisconsin,” Talev told the CNN panel.   

VULNERABLE DEMOCRATS AVOID BIDEN’S ANTI-MAGA SPEECH, TRUMP-BACKED CANDIDATES FIRE BACK AT DIVISIVE REMARKS

Margaret Talev joined CNN’s “Inside Politics” panel on Sunday. 
(Screenshot/CNN/InsidePolitics)

During CNN’s “State of the Union,” host Dana Bash had Alyssa Farah Griffin, Stephanie Grisham and Olivia Troye on to discuss the former president, but the CNN host also asked the group of former Trump administration officials about Biden’s speech. 

“You’re all Republicans. You all broke with President Trump. In many ways, President Biden said that what you’ve all been saying for a long time now,” Bash said. “Did what President Biden say resonate with you?” 

Troye said that the speech did resonate with her.  

“I’m a lifelong Republican voter who doesn’t identify with this extremist wing of the party who thinks that far-right wing is dangerous. And it’s emboldening divisiveness across the country and at moments violence,” she said.    

The former Homeland Security and Counterterrorism advisor to former Vice President Mike Pence said she wished the Republican Party was running better candidates who represent “traditional Republican values.” 

BIDEN SAYS TRUMP SUPPORTERS NOT A THREAT TO COUNTRY AFTER SPEECH BLASTING ‘MAGA REPUBLICANS’

Former Trump administration officials join CNN's Dana Bash on Sunday's "State of the Union."

Former Trump administration officials join CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday’s “State of the Union.”
(Screenshot/CNN/StateOfTheUnion)

Biden, during a campaign-style speech on Thursday night, painted “MAGA Republicans” as threats to democracy and said that democracy was “under assault.”

“MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards,” Biden said. “Backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love.”

Farah Griffin said she agreed with Troye but worried about the president “stepping into this very divisive rhetoric that paints too big of a swath of the country.” 

“He needs an inclusive message, or that just ends up stoking and emboldening the Trump-wing of the party,” she said. 

“What Alyssa said,” Grisham said, agreeing with Farah Griffin.

During CBS’ “Face The Nation,” former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick praised Biden’s Philadelphia speech. 

BIDEN SHOCKS VIEWERS WITH ‘HELLISH RED BACKGROUND’ FOR POLARIZING SPEECH

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on what he calls the "continued battle for the Soul of the Nation" in front of Independence Hall at Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, U.S., September 1, 2022.

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on what he calls the “continued battle for the Soul of the Nation” in front of Independence Hall at Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, U.S., September 1, 2022.
(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY/File Photo)

“So I celebrate the president’s speech. You know anyone of us would choose different words but I think it is great that the president first of all, calls things what they are. And also reminds us that the purpose of democracy is a means to assure liberty and justice for all. We have to care about that process and that purpose for those reasons,” Patrick said. 

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., told MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart that the president’s speech was “essential” after hearing a clip of Trump’s response to Biden’s comments. 

“This is deadly serious. President Biden’s speech was essential. He was simply alerting the American people to the threat to American democracy that this ultra MAGA Trumpist movement poses. And Donald Trump does what he always does. He projects his own behavior on his adversaries and he suggests somehow that this is a threat to his supporters. The president was very clear in his speech defending our democracy, he did it in a very important place that symbolizes the creation of our democratic republic,” Cicilline said. 

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White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also joined Capehart on Sunday and said that Biden believed the “extreme” MAGA ideology had “taken over” the Republican Party. 

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