A group of House Republicans are demanding answers from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin over Joe Biden’s use of active duty Marines during his “Red Sermon” speech denouncing supporters of his chief political opponent, 45th President Donald Trump, as dangerous to the “soul” of the country.
Reps. Elise Stefanik, Mike Rogers, and Ken Calvert sent the letter on Wednesday, according to The Daily Caller. Republicans asked harsh questions about whether the Department of Defense knew Biden’s speech would be nakedly political when it agreed to provide two U.S. Marines for his backdrop.
He abused Marines as props, and desecrated our sacred Independence Hall with his sinister diatribe.
— Steve Cortes (@CortesSteve) September 5, 2022
The House Republicans asked whether the Department of Defense knew the contents of the speech, whether two active duty Marines “would be visibly present” for Biden’s remarks, whether someone requested the Marines’ presence and when, and how the decision was made to send them, The Daily Caller reports.
On Twitter, Stefanik wrote that Biden “inappropriately and illegally jeopardized Marines’ compliance with DoD regulations while he was denigrating” and “demonizing tens of millions of Americans.”
Joe Biden inappropriately and illegally jeopardized Marines’ compliance with DoD regulations while he was denigrating & demonizing tens of millions of Americans.
@RepMikeRogersAL, @KenCalvert, & I are calling for accountability to end this politicization of our service members. pic.twitter.com/46OkRJKVc9
— Rep. Elise Stefanik (@RepStefanik) September 8, 2022
The White House has defended Biden’s controversial speech even as Republicans say he threatened their voters and a growing number of mainstream pundits question the motives of the speech.
For his part, Trump turned the tables on Biden with his own speech – held at a massive rally for his endorsed candidates in Pennsylvania – in which he declared the 46th president an enemy of the state.
“Joe Biden came to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to give the most vicious, hateful and divisive speech ever delivered by an American president, vilifying 75 million citizens,” said Trump, “as threats to democracy and as enemies of the state. He’s an enemy of the state.”
“The enemy of the state is him and the group that controls him,” Trump added.
TRUMP on Biden's speech: "The most vicious, hateful, and divisive speech ever delivered by a [U.S.] President… you're all enemies of the state. He's an enemy of the state, if you want to know the truth. The enemy of the state is him and the group that controls him." #TrumpRally pic.twitter.com/ImTkCtTBMS
— Newsmax (@newsmax) September 3, 2022
Trump and other conservatives are not alone in questioning Biden’s speech.
Major broadcast networks CBS, NBC, and ABC chose to broadcast reruns of “Law & Order” and “Young Sheldon” alongside game shows over Biden’s speech, with multiple media outlets reporting that they found it too political.