WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will travel to Arizona next week to deliver a democracy-focused address that will also pay tribute to the late John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate who represented the state in the U.S. Senate for more than three decades.
Biden’s speech, which is scheduled for Sept. 28 and expected in the Phoenix area, will focus on “the work we must do together to strengthen our democracy,” the White House said Thursday. The remarks will also honor the legacy of McCain, whose memorial in Hanoi Biden visited earlier this month during his trip to India and Vietnam.
“I miss him,” Biden said of McCain at the memorial, located near where McCain’s Skyhawk dive bomber was shot down in 1967 by the North Vietnamese. McCain spent more than five years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. “He was a good friend.”
Biden has given a handful of other democracy-centered addresses, including at Independence Hall in Philadelphia a year ago and at Union Station in Washington shortly before the November midterm elections. Though his speech in Arizona is billed as an official White House event, the issue of preserving democracy is expected to be a key theme in his reelection campaign.
“President Biden believes threats to our nation’s democracy remain central to the 2024 election, including from Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans’ ongoing efforts to deny free and fair elections and undermine our democratic institutions,” Biden campaign spokesman Kevin Munoz said Thursday. “The president will continue his career-long fight to stand up and defend democracy, our personal freedoms, our civil rights and the very values that make us Americans.”
Before heading to Arizona, Biden will spend two days in San Francisco. While there, he will host a meeting of the president’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, which focuses on developing policies on innovation.
The president, who formalized his reelection bid in April, is also participating in a blitz of fundraisers before the end of the third quarter this month. He will headline three fundraisers in California and one in Arizona during his trip, according to the White House.