At the invite of President Joe Biden, Gov. Phil Scott on Thursday addressed a large audience in a virtual “Summit for Democracy,” which is currently being held today and tomorrow.
The concept behind the summit is to bring together world leaders, heads of state, advocates for human rights and democratic values, and others to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing democracies in this century.
The theme of Scott’s talk, which took place shortly after 1 p.m., was civility and listening to opposing sides.
“Healthy democracies require healthy relationships among citizens and their governments,” Vermont’s governor said. “Keeping these relationships healthy requires a constant commitment to listening, learning, and always working to do better. It needs an authentic effort to reach consensus, compromise when necessary and accept that we will not — and in fact should not — win every debate.”
But he then expressed frustration that former President Donald Trump has publicly maintained that the 2020 presidential elections were plagued by fraud, a view held by a strong majority within the Republican Party and even nearly a third of Democrats, according to Rasmussen.
Huge: "How likely is it that Democrats stole votes or destroyed pro-Trump ballots in several states to ensure that Biden would win?"
— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) November 20, 2020
“Just 11 months ago, for example, we saw our president fuel a campaign to undermine and try to overturn the results of a free, fair and legal election,” Scott said.
Political commentators from the right and the left tend to agree that civil discourse in the nation is near an all-time low.
President Biden, during his early morning introduction to the summit, said the world is trending against principles of democracy.
“The data that we are seeing is largely pointed in the wrong direction,” he said. “Freedom House reports that in 2020 that marked the 15th consecutive year of global freedom in retreat. Another recent report from the International Institute of Democracy and Electoral Assistance noted that more than half of all Democracies have experienced a decline in at least one aspect of democracy over the last 10 years.”
Biden also suggested that populations around the world are being misled by wrong information sources, and he said many are distrusting their governments.
“Democratic governments are failing to deliver for their needs,” he said. “In my opinion, this is the defining challenge of our time.”
An area where Scott and Biden differ is Scott has often spoken in favor of recommending COVID-19 mitigation policies. Biden is for mandates, whereas Scott is not.
Across the nation, federal judges have been ruling against the Biden administration’s proposed vaccine mandates for large private companies and much of the private sector.