Former Hawaii Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard claimed President Joe Biden is trying to "divide" Americans by supporting voting rights.
Gabbard's remarks came after Biden called on Americans “defend the right to vote, our democracy against all enemies foreign and yes, domestic” during a speech in Georgia as the Senate continues efforts to pass comprehensive voting rights legislation.
In his speech, President Biden asked his audience to consider whether they'd like to be on the same side of history as the civil rights advocate Martin Luther King or the one favored by the hard-line segregationist George Wallace, the former Alabama Governor who once stood in front of the entrance of the University of Alabama in a bid to stop racial integration.
The President's statements angered Gabbard, who said Biden "promised to unite us, but he is doing all he can do divide us," comparing his words to those of former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who once referred to former President Donald Trump's supporters as "a basket of deplorables."
Voting rights have taken center stage again after West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, one of the party's right leaning moderates, refused to back the "Build Back Better" agenda, an effort by House and Senate Democrats to codify much of their economic and social policy via a major spending bill.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, has made clear that the Senate would “consider changes to any rules which prevent us from debating and reaching final conclusion on important legislation,” including voting rights legislation, reigniting debates on whether or not to abolish the filibuster.
President Biden previously announced his support for amending Senate rules and changing the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation.
Many have criticized Gabbard, who now works as a commentator for Fox News, for her remarks.
Gabbard represents just a small part of the opposition to legislative reform in regard to voting rights.
The office of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said in a memo that Democrats are pushing “the left’s Big Lie,” accusing them of orchestrating “fake hysteria” over voting rights.
Democrats will “try to use fake hysteria to break the Senate and silence millions of Americans’ voices so they can take over elections and ram through their radical agenda,” McConnell said in the memo, a likely reference to attempts to reform the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation.
Schumer plans to force a rules change by January 17 if Republicans block the Freedom to Vote Act, which includes safeguards against undermining the voting process.