Hours after President Biden attacked former President Donald J. Trump as an anti-democratic threat to America’s founding ideals, Mr. Trump responded by accusing Mr. Biden of “pathetic fearmongering.”

At a campaign event in Sioux Center, Iowa, just 10 days before the state’s caucuses, Mr. Trump suggested that Mr. Biden’s democracy-themed speech, aimed at laying out the stakes of the 2024 election, was meant to divert focus away from issues like the economy and the border.

Mr. Biden “cannot talk about a single issue that matters to hardworking Americans because he has failed you and betrayed you,” Mr. Trump said.

The former president, who faces criminal charges over his role in efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election and the subsequent Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by Mr. Trump’s supporters, which violently disrupted the peaceful transfer of power, argued that Mr. Biden was “abusing George Washington’s legacy” by staging his remarks near Valley Forge, in Pennsylvania, where Washington led troops during the Revolutionary War.

He also mocked Mr. Biden’s delivery, suggesting he was stuttering throughout his speech when he was not. Mr. Biden is the first modern president to have a stutter, which he has dealt with since childhood.

Mr. Trump was already scheduled to hold two campaign events in Iowa on Friday and two on Saturday, the third anniversary of the Capitol riot, when Mr. Biden announced his own remarks. The president devoted significant attention to Mr. Trump’s actions leading up to and during the attack, painting Mr. Trump as the leader of an insurrection and a threat to democracy.

In Sioux Center, Mr. Trump downplayed the events of the day, labeling the people serving prison sentences for their roles in the Capitol attack as “hostages,” a comment he has made before.

Their time in prison, he said, would “go down as one of the saddest things in the history of our country,” adding that “nobody has been treated ever in history so badly as those people.”

And Mr. Trump also repeated the conspiracy theory that the Jan. 6 riot was instigated by the F.B.I., for which there is no evidence.

Mr. Trump, whose authoritarian-sounding rhetoric and radical plans for a potential second term have been seized on by his opponents, has argued for weeks that it is Mr. Biden who poses the threat. During Friday’s speech, Mr. Trump again accused Mr. Biden of wielding federal law enforcement in order to attack his political opponents, though there is no evidence that Mr. Biden has been involved with any of the four criminal cases against him.

“They’ve weaponized government, and he’s saying I’m a threat to democracy,” Mr. Trump said, sounding incredulous.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *