WILKES-BARRE, United States (AFP) — Donald Trump branded Joe Biden an “enemy of the state” Saturday, as he hit back at the US president’s assertion that the Republican and his supporters are undermining American democracy and slammed last month’s FBI raid of his Florida home.
Making his first public appearance since the August 8 raid, Trump said the search was a “travesty of justice” and warned it would produce “a backlash the likes of which nobody has ever seen.”
“There can be no more vivid example of the very real threats from American freedom than just a few weeks ago, you saw, when we witnessed one of the most shocking abuses of power by any administration in American history,” Trump said.
His suggestion that the Biden administration had overseen the raid goes against long-standing protocols which see the Justice Department and the FBI act independently of the White House.
Trump told cheering supporters at the rally in the city of Wilkes-Barre that the “egregious abuse of the law” was going to produce “a backlash the likes of which nobody has ever seen.”
He also hit back at Biden’s speech this week in which the president said his predecessor and Republican supporters “represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”
Speaking in Philadelphia, the cradle of US democracy, the president launched an extraordinary assault on those Republicans who embrace Trump’s “Make America Great Again” ideology — and urged his own supporters to fight back in what he billed as a “battle for the Soul of the Nation.”
Trump slammed it as the “most vicious, hateful and divisive speech ever delivered by an American president.”
“He’s an enemy of the state. You want to know that,” Trump said.
“Republicans in the MAGA movement are not the ones trying to undermine our democracy,” he continued. “We are the ones trying to save our democracy, very simple. The danger to democracy comes from the radical left, not from the right.”
Trump was appearing in Pennsylvania to rally support from Republicans ahead of November’s midterm elections, which could see Biden’s Democrats lose control of both houses of Congress.
It comes as Trump is under increasing legal pressure over the documents found by the FBI at his Mar-a-Lago estate.
The Justice Department has said in court filings that highly classified government documents, including some marked “Top Secret,” were discovered in Trump’s personal office during the raid.
A detailed list of what was seized also showed Trump held on to more than 11,000 unclassified government records that he claims are his to keep — but legally are owned by the country’s National Archives.
Among the papers seized were 18 documents labeled “top secret,” 53 labeled “secret” and another 31 marked “confidential.”
Of those, seven top secret files, 17 secret files and three confidential files were retrieved from Trump’s private office.
Agents also found several dozen empty folders labeled “classified” in the office, raising speculation that sensitive documents may have been lost, destroyed or moved.