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September 01, 2022

President Biden to discuss 'extremist threat' during speech in Philly; road closures expected in Old City

The primetime address from Independence Hall will be livestreamed on the White House's YouTube channel at 8 p.m.

President Joe Biden will deliver a primetime speech in Philadelphia on Thursday about what his administration views as ongoing threats to American democracy and the "continued battle to heal the soul of our nation."

Biden is expected to trade in his usual calls for party unity for a more pointed aim at Republicans as Democrats attempt to retain control of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate in the upcoming midterm elections. 

The president recently has expressed disdain for "extremists" in the Republican Party, saying many have turned to "semi-fascism" in their loyalty to former President Donald Trump, particularly in the wake of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. 

In remarks given Tuesday in Wilkes-Barre – which had been billed as a speech on gun violence and the bipartisan passage of federal gun regulations – Biden railed against Trump loyalists – particularly those who called for the FBI to be defunded following the raid at Mar-A-Lago. 

On Thursday, Biden will discuss the 2017 white supremacist "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which he says led him to come out of political retirement to challenge Trump during the 2020 presidential election, the Associated Press reported. 

"The president thinks that there is an extremist threat to our democracy," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. "It's not stopping. It's continuing." 

Here's what you need to know about road closures in Philadelphia and how to watch Biden's speech. 

Road closures

Biden is expected to arrive at the Philadelphia International Airport at 6:50 p.m. and travel by motorcade on I-95 to Independence National Historical Park. His brief remarks are expected to begin at 8 p.m. Air Force 1 is scheduled to depart the airport at 9:25 p.m., with Biden returning to Washington by 10:30 p.m. 

Road closures will begin at 4 p.m. from Fourth to Sixth streets and Market to Walnut streets, police said. Additional rolling road closures will be announced as the president's motorcade travels to and from Old City. Residents and commuters should expect traffic disruptions. 

Mayor Jim Kenney said Wednesday that he was unsure of Biden's exact route through the city, but said the Secret Service will close whatever roads are necessary to ensure the president's safety.

"I would suspect his route from the airport to Old City (includes) I-95," Kenney told 6ABC. "I don't know what route they're taking, but I'm sure that'll shut down. There will be a rolling shut down of exits and entrances as he moves his way north." 

How to watch or listen

Biden's primetime address will be livestreamed on the White House's YouTube channel, which can be seen below. 

The speech also will be broadcast by various networks and cable outlets, including CNN and MSNBC

On the radio, WHYY will air the speech live on 90.9 FM as part of NPR's live coverage