On Monday, President Joe Biden addressed the nation from the White House, responding directly to the landmark Supreme Court immunity ruling, which could potentially grant former president and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump unchecked power if he wins a second term.

“Now the American people will have to do what the court should have been willing to do and would not: Americans will have to render judgment about Donald Trump’s behavior,” announced Biden.

On Monday, the conservative majority court granted Trump broad immunity for certain “official” presidential actions taken while in office, stemming from his federal 2020 election interference case.

The court ruled that Trump’s discussions with the Justice Department, aimed at persuading officials to support his efforts to overturn the election, were protected by absolute immunity. For other official actions and routine presidential powers, the court stated there is at least some immunity and largely deferred to lower courts to decide the scope.

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Biden’s defiant speech criticized the conservative majority for their “dangerous and unprecedented” decision, marking a significant moment in institutional history.

However, it also served as a political tactic, aiming to redeem himself after his disjointed debate performance on Thursday, which has led to calls for him to withdraw from the race.

In his four-minute speech, Biden summed up the urgent choice American voters will face in November: Will the country return to a 78-year-old former president with authoritarian instincts who believes the Constitution grants him absolute power, or will Biden, despite concerns about his age, be strong enough to defeat Trump and lead the nation for another term?

While Biden did not address concerns about his health, mental capacity or age raised after the CNN debate, he appeared more confident than on Thursday’s debate stage. However, his walk back to the White House Blue Room highlighted his loss of mobility, reminding voters of his advancing years. 

In his address, Biden advocated for the presidency while acknowledging the constitutional limits designed to contain executive power. He warned of the need to limit his own office’s power, aligning with the views of most U.S. presidents who recognized that maintaining public trust and American democracy required their restraint.

Biden referenced George Washington, the first president, who established the tradition of willingly and peacefully ceding power. He noted that Trump had abused this tradition, emphasizing that executive power is “limited not absolute.”

“The American people must decide whether Donald Trump’s assault on our democracy on January 6 makes him unfit for public office in the highest office of the land,” said Biden.

“The American people must decide (whether) Trump’s embrace of violence to preserve his power is acceptable. Perhaps most importantly, the American people must decide if they want to entrust the…presidency…once again…to…Donald Trump, now knowing he’ll be more emboldened to do whatever he pleases whenever her wants to do it.”

Biden urged Americans to heed the perspectives of liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who issued a blistering dissent against the Supreme Court’s conservative majority decision.

“I concur with Justice Sotomayor’s dissent today. Here’s what she said…’In every use of official power, the president is now a king above the law. With fear for our democracy, I dissent,’ end of quote,” said Biden. “So should the American people dissent. I dissent,” he concluded.

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