WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden lashed out Thursday night at Republicans who have embraced the “Make America Great Again” philosophy central to Donald Trump’s presidency, saying it’s “like semi-fascism.”
Biden made the comment at a fundraiser for Democrats at a home in Bethesda, Md., ahead of a kickoff rally he headlined at a high school in Rockville, Md., to mark the final countdown to November’s midterm elections.
“What we’re seeing now is the beginning or the death knell of an extreme MAGA philosophy. It’s not just Trump, it’s the entire philosophy that underpins the — I’m going to say something, it’s like semi-fascism,” Biden said at the donor event.
A spokesman for the Republican National Committee, Nathan Brand, rebuked Biden for the remark later Thursday, calling it “despicable.”
“Biden forced Americans out of their jobs, transferred money from working families to Harvard lawyers, and sent our country into a recession while families can’t afford gas and groceries,” he said. “Democrats don’t care about suffering Americans — they never did.”
At the rally afterward, Biden touted Democratic accomplishments over the last several months, including the enactment of legislation intended to prevent gun violence, boost infrastructure spending and domestic computer chip manufacturing, expand benefits for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits, and expand health care costs and fight climate change. But throughout his speech, the president took aim at his White House predecessor, as well as many members of the Republican Party.
“America must choose. You must choose — whether our country will move forward or backward,” he said. “Trump and the extreme MAGA Republicans have made their choice — to go backwards full of anger, violence, hate and division.”
Biden said he respects “conservative Republicans” and not “MAGA Republicans.” The president has for months linked a majority of the GOP to Trump as many have defended the former president and embraced his ideology.
“The MAGA Republicans don’t just threaten our personal rights and economic security,” Biden said. “They’re a threat to our very democracy. They refuse to accept the will of the people. They embrace political violence. They don’t believe in democracy.”
Sahil Kapur contributed.