US President Joe Biden has condemned a wave of Republican-backed legislation fuelled by his predecessor Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election.
In a speech in Philadelphia on Tuesday, Biden lambasted efforts by Trump and others to sow doubt about the election months after it concluded, which have prompted GOP-led state legislatures to push new elections laws that would limit absentee voting and make it harder for certain groups to vote.
“The big lie is just that. A big lie,” he said. “If you lose, you accept the results. You don’t call facts fake and try to bring down the American experiment just because you’re unhappy. That’s not statesmanship. That’s selfishness.”
Biden, who is under pressure from US civil rights leaders, also said it was a "national imperative" to pass sweeping voting rights legislation that has stalled in Congress.
The voting rights legislation faces an uphill battle in Congress, where Democrats have been stymied by Senate Republicans who blocked it even from being debated.
“This is election subversion. It’s the most dangerous threat to voting,” Biden said. “It’s hard to declare how critical this is. It’s simply unconscionable.”
He described the ongoing attacks on election integrity as an existential threat to democracy.
“We’re facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War,” Biden said. “I’m not saying this to alarm you, I’m saying this because you should be alarmed.”
He called on Republicans to "stand up, for God's sake," and oppose voting restrictions, adding, "Have you no shame?"
So far this year, at least 17 states have enacted laws that restrict voting access, with more being considered, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School.