Trump supporters don't threaten U.S., violence does, Biden says

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U.S. President Biden holds American Rescue Plan event at the White House in Washington

(Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday said he does not consider all of former President Donald Trump's supporters to be a threat to the nation, but said anyone who uses violence or fails to condemn it does pose a threat to democracy.

Biden condemned "Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans" in a speech on Thursday night, calling their "extremism" a threat to democracy.

Republicans have criticized the speech as divisive.

Asked by a reporter at the White House on Friday whether he was referring to all Trump supporters, Biden said, "I don't consider any Trump supporter to be a threat to the country."

He added "I do think anyone who calls for the use of violence, who fails to condemn violence when it's used, and refuses to acknowledge that an election has been won, insists on changing the way in which the rules, you count the votes, that is a threat to democracy."

Trump voters "weren't voting for attacking the capitol," Biden said. "They weren't voting for overruling elections."

(Reporting by Tyler Clifford; Editing by Tim Ahmann, Heather Timmons and Mark Porter)