CNN senior political analyst and anchor John Avlon said Tuesday that President Joe Biden’s “semi-fascism” remark is “not befitting” of the president.
The president called the philosophy of former President Donald Trump and his allies “semi-fascism” during a Democratic campaign event held Thursday in Maryland. Avlon argued on CNN’s “New Day” that such rhetoric is not helpful for Democrats running in the upcoming midterm elections.
“The term ‘semi-fascist’ is not helpful, it’s not befitting the office of president,” Avlon said. “While you can absolutely call out the dangers to our democracy — but it makes perfect sense for someone like [Democratic New Hampshire] Sen. [Maggie] Hassan because, look, in New Hampshire, more than 40% of registered voters are Independent, another 30 and change are Republican. Democrats are the third category among registered voters. So, she needs to be able to reach out and that language doesn’t help her do that.”
Sen. Hassan criticized the president’s statement, saying he “painted with too broad of a brush” in a recent interview with WMUR 9.
“I have concerns about attacks on our democracy,” she told the outlet. “I have concerns that some people seem to think that violence is an appropriate way of resolving disputes in our democracy, but I think President Biden’s comments just painted with way too broad a brush.” (RELATED: ‘This Is Ridiculous’: Jim Jordan Lambasts Biden For ‘Semi-Fascism’ Remark)
CNN political commentator Alice Stewart said the president promised to restore unity and then painted the Republican Party as “fascists.”
Former Bush official and CNN political commentator Scott Jennings said the president has a history of attacking Republicans to the extreme. He mentioned the president’s previous remark about two pieces of legislation surrounding voting laws, where Biden said “you’re either Jefferson Davis or Bull Connor.”
“His natural instinct is to go to an extreme insult so you’re either racist or a fascist,” Jennings said, causing Avlon to push back. “That is exactly, you know that’s what he said.”
Avlon argued that Biden also praised Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as a patriotic American and is not the type of “red meat” politician who inflames his supporters.
Many Republicans interpreted the president’s remark to be an attack on all members of their party. Karl Rove, the former White House deputy chief of staff under the Bush administration, said Sunday that the president “attacked the entire [Republican] party” and accused him of not upholding his promise to bring unity to the country.