President Biden repeatedly shouted that he wasn’t “joking” and that he was “serious” during a stump speech in Pennsylvania on Tuesday — as he addressed reducing gun violence and a renewed push to ban assault-style weapons.
Biden uttered the two phrases at least half-a dozen times during his 30-minute address to a crowd of more than 500 stone-faced supporters in Wilkes-Barre while touting his administration’s crime-prevention efforts.
The 79-year-old used his remarks in the swing state to continue to pressure Congress to revive a long-expired federal ban on assault-style weapons, arguing there was no rationale for such weapons “outside of a war zone.”
“No, I’m not joking,” he told the crowd at Wilkes University at one point after mentioning how parents in the recent Uvalde, Texas school massacre had to supply DNA to identify their slain children.
“I’m determined to ban assault weapons in this country. Determined. I did it once before. And I’ll do it again,” he continued, referring to the leading role he played in temporarily banning assault-style weapons as a US senator.
Elsewhere, Biden insisted again — “I’m not joking” — as he praised law enforcement in the crowd and criticized the Defund Police movement.
“I’ve not met a cop who likes a bad cop,” he said. “There’s lousy senators, there’s lousy presidents, there’s lousy doctors, there’s lousy lawyers. No, I’m serious. But I don’t know any police officer that feels good about the fact that there may be a lousy cop.”
He went on to defend the FBI after the agency faced backlash in the wake of the raid on former president Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
“It’s sickening to see the new attacks on the FBI, threatening the life of law enforcement and their families, for simply carrying out the law and doing their job,” Biden said.
“I’m opposed to defunding the police; I’m also opposed to defunding the FBI.”
Despite raising his voice multiple times during Tuesday’s stump speech, Biden’s rhetoric was considerably toned down compared to last week’s Maryland rally when he raged that MAGA philosophy was “semi-fascism.”
Biden only mentioned the phrase “MAGA Republicans” twice as he accused GOP lawmakers of refusing to condemn those who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
“Let me say this to my MAGA Republican friends in Congress: Don’t tell me support law enforcement if you won’t condemn what happened on the 6th. You can’t do it. For God’s sake. Whose side are you on?” he raged.