Donald J. Trump and President Biden have both made recent appearances in Pennsylvania, one of the key states in November’s midterm elections.
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By Katie Glueck and Michael C. Bender
WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, Pa. — In his first rally since his home was searched by the F.B.I. on Aug. 8, former President Donald J. Trump on Saturday lashed out at President Biden and federal agents, calling his Democratic rival “an enemy of the state” and the F.B.I. and the Department of Justice “vicious monsters.”
In an aggrieved and combative speech in Pennsylvania, Mr. Trump stoked anger against law enforcement even as the F.B.I. and federal officials have faced an increase in threats following the search of Mr. Trump’s residence to retrieve classified documents.
Mr. Trump’s remarks echoed the chain of similar, escalating attacks he wrote on his social media website this week, including posts that singled out one agent by name. That agent has retired, and his lawyers have said he did not have a role in the search.
Although he faced criticism for the tirades, and some Republicans have warned about the political dangers in attacking law enforcement, the former president signaled he would yield no ground.
His speech came two days after Mr. Biden warned that democratic values were under assault by forces loyal to Mr. Trump. The former president described Mr. Biden’s address as “the most vicious, hateful, and divisive speech ever delivered by an American president.”
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“You’re all enemies of the state,” Mr. Trump told thousands of supporters at his rally, where he was campaigning for Pennsylvania Republicans, including State Senator Doug Mastriano, the right-wing nominee for governor, and Mehmet Oz, the celebrity television physician and Senate candidate. “He’s an enemy of the state, you want to know the truth,” he said of Mr. Biden.
He told the crowd: “It was not just my home that was raided last month. It was the hopes and dreams of every citizen who I’ve been fighting for.”
Mr. Trump described America as a nation in decline, a theme that has become a staple of his post-White House campaign rallies. In Pennsylvania, he again falsely claimed he won the 2020 election and tailored his speech to highlight a spate of recent murders in Philadelphia.
Mr. Biden has also spent considerable time in Pennsylvania in recent days, underscoring the political significance this year of what may be the nation’s ultimate battleground state. He cast Trumpism as an urgent threat to the nation in Philadelphia, and he also spoke in Wilkes-Barre, near the arena where Mr. Trump appeared. He is expected in Pittsburgh on Monday for a Labor Day appearance.
At the rally, Mr. Trump attacked the two Democratic candidates at the top of the ticket, Josh Shapiro for governor and John Fetterman for senator.
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