President Joe Biden urged participants at the first White House Summit for Democracy to reverse an ongoing recession of democracy that is playing out at a time of rising authoritarianism around the globe and extraordinary strains on foundational institutions in the U.S.
“In my view, this is the defining challenge of our time: Democracy,” Biden said in opening remarks to the two day summit. “Government of the people by the people for the people can at times be fragile. But it also is inherently resilient.”
The summit comes as U.S. democracy faces challenges to its institutions and traditions, including the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol has left many Republicans clinging to Donald Trump’s false claims of a stolen election.
“We stand at an inflection point in our history, in my view,” Biden said. “Will we allow the backward slide of rights and democracy to continue unchecked, or will we together together have a vision and vision, not just a vision and the vision and courage?”
The virtual summit has already drawn backlash from some of the United States’ adversaries and nations that weren’t invited.
Ambassadors to the U.S. from China and Russia wrote a joint essay describing the Biden administration as exhibiting a Cold-War mentality.
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