President Biden and his administration have been putting forward two messages at the same time when it comes to the Republican Party and what it calls “MAGA Republicans,” pointing out that the latter has taken over the former and that the majority of the party is not actually represented by the MAGA movement.
Biden himself said both of these during his address in Philadelphia last week, two months ahead of November’s midterm elections.
“Not every Republican, not even the majority of Republicans, are MAGA Republicans. Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology,” Biden said.
Two sentences later, he said, “But there is no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans, and that is a threat to this country.”
So at once, the president vilified Republicans as a party by saying they are “dominated” by MAGA Republicans but also claimed that “not even the majority of Republicans” are part of that group.
Following that speech, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre continued the dual messages. In the same sentence during an interview on MSNBC’s “The Sunday Show,” she said MAGA Republicans are “a specific, particular, extreme, extreme part of the party” but also that they have “taken over” the party.
Fox News reached out to White House representatives, including Jean-Pierre, for clarification on this, as well as what the president means when he talks about a MAGA ideology. While she did not respond, White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates did. His response focused not on Republicans as a whole, or even “MAGA Republican” Trump supporters, but “Ultra MAGA Republican officeholders.” He did, however, shed light on policies the administration believes they represent.
“Ultra MAGA Republican officeholders are telling on themselves by protesting too much when called out on supporting a fringe agenda that an overwhelming majority of the country and an enormous percentage of conservatives reject. Like cutting Medicare and Social Security, raising taxes on nearly 100 million middle-class Americans, costing millions their healthcare to cut taxes for the rich, and repealing new legislation to cut Americans’ prescription drug and energy bills that is already generating high-paying manufacturing jobs across the country,” Bates said in a statement to Fox News.
To support his claims, Bates included polling data showing that most Republicans opposed reducing social security and Medicare benefits to lower the deficit, opposed total abortion bans in their states, and favored having the federal government negotiate with drug companies for prescription drug prices.
He also pointed to “dangerous conspiracy theories and violent rhetoric about overturning the 2020 election and future elections,” which he said “are also sharply at odds with the American people and a large share of conservatives.”
The only thing Bates said about the president’s message was that Biden “is delivering a message that unites the country and is aligned with what leading Republican experts like Judge Luttig have also warned about.” Lutting is among a group of conservatives who released a report concluding that Biden won the 2020 election and did not steal it. He also issued a lengthy statement and testified before the House January 6 committee, speaking against Trump and his efforts to reverse the election results.
“The fragile response from ultra MAGA officeholders only confirms how much this resonates with the country,” Bates said.
When asked about the use of “ultra MAGA Republican” instead of “MAGA Republican,” Bates said that Biden has “used both terms.”