WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden opened Thursday with the long-promised “democracy summit” of more than 100 states, which he found responsible for “Exhibition A” among the world’s endangered democracies.
Among the major industrial powers that make up the Group of Seven, only the United States has suffered from attempts to overthrow representative democracy since the group was formed, in the form of Donald Trump’s attempts to cancel the 2020 election and stay in power. . Among the 17 G-20 democracies, the United States, along with Turkey, is one of only two countries to have abused its power to retain its executive director.
Describing the January 6 uprising as one of the first coup attempts by Trump, Fiona Hill, a former National Security Council analyst and Britain, said the idea that it could never happen in the country was unimaginable.
“In a million years, I never imagined the United States would set an example of this crisis in democracy,” he said.
Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a professor of history and authoritarianism at New York University, said Biden should speak openly about the fact that the United States is the last battleground for autocracy against democracy. “And use the summit to send a message to Democrats and autocrats that the U.S. is pursuing anti-democratic forces with courage and determination.”
Surprisingly, when Biden first mentioned the need for a summit to bring together world democracies in his July 11, 2019 election speech, he highlighted Trump’s anti-democratic tendencies.
“Democracy today is under more pressure than ever since the 1930s,” Biden said at New York City University. “While the world’s democracies look to America to uphold the values that unite us and lead a truly free world, Donald Trump seems to be in a different community.”
During Biden’s 2019 speech, Trump’s closeness to the autocrats was revealed. He has repeatedly praised leaders such as Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and even North Korea’s assassin dictator Kim Jong Un. A year ago, Trump stood next to Russian Vladimir Putin and told the world that he believed Putin’s statements about U.S. intelligence analysis of his interference in the 2016 election.
In 2020, when Trump began to lay the groundwork for claiming that a re-election defeat could only be the result of Democratic deception, Biden’s campaign began to speculate that Trump might try to overthrow Biden’s victory.
Biden campaign spokesman TJ Duclos said of Trump: “He continues to arouse suspicion even after he leaves power and is undermining our democratic institutions.” “It is ironic that the United States will have an ‘exhibition A’ among Western democracies facing a legitimate autocratic threat from within.”
Despite losing 7 million votes nationwide and 306-232 votes in the Electoral College, Trump became the first president in the United States to refuse to hand over power peacefully in an election that lasted more than two centuries. His January 6 attack on the Capitol – his last attempt to stay in office – killed five people, including a police officer, wounded another 140 officers and killed four police officers. committed suicide.
Nevertheless, Trump remains the dominant figure in the Republican Party and is openly talking about running for president again in 2024.
“It is ironic that the United States will have an ‘exhibition A’ among Western democracies facing a legitimate autocratic threat from within.”
– TJ Duclos, Biden’s 2020 campaign spokesman
Biden has repeatedly denounced the crowd’s attempt to block the election certification process on Jan. 6 as an attack on democracy itself, and White House aides said they would speak again the same day during the summit.
“Obviously, as people all over the world, as countries around the world look at the events of January 6, here, as they look at what happened in the United States, it was clear when the president came to power. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki was front and center on her agenda this week, and it was.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, one high-ranking administration official noted the news that Biden had spent all his time in the White House: Democracies need to show that they are better than the alternative. “The president sees the need of the hour in demonstrating that democracies can succeed,” he said. “It’s about improving the lives of its people and solving the biggest problems the whole world faces.”
However, Ben-Ghiat says a tougher stance may be more beneficial than those who can now become autocrats. “The summit is designed to let the whole world know that the United States is still a democratic leader and will show its strength,” he said of Biden. “It will help a lot if it is supported by action, including by the Department of Justice.”