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President Biden on Friday declared that the GOP “ain’t your father’s Republican Party,” saying it has shifted to a “MAGA party,” warning that right-leaning politicians “who know better” are “afraid to act correctly” out of fear of losing a primary election.
The president, delivering Earth Day remarks from Seward Park in Seattle, Washington, discussed his administration’s efforts to address climate change, and called on Congress to take action.
But in doing so, the president shared his take on the Republican Party. The president said that “virtually no Republicans” will work with Democrats, saying that, at times, “we get up to as many as seven or eight.”
“This ain’t your father’s Republican Party,” Biden said. “Not a joke. All you gotta do is look what is being played this morning about the tape that was released.”
Biden was apparently referring to leaked audio that the New York Times first reported on this week from Jan. 10, 2021, where House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., reportedly told House Republican leadership that he had “had it” with former President Trump and that he was going to recommend the then-president “resign” following the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.
“I think this will pass, and it would be my recommendation you should resign,” McCarthy said in the recording, explaining what he would tell Trump, according to the audio published by the Times.
In the recording, the Republican leader said that it was not likely that Trump would listen to his suggestion and that nobody can defend the then-president’s actions on January 6 “and nobody should defend it.”
The Times’ report also said that McCarthy called Trump’s actions on January 6 “atrocious and totally wrong” in a call with Republicans on January 8, and reportedly floated the idea of getting certain lawmakers banned from social media.
McCarthy rebutted the Times reporting as “totally false and wrong.”
Biden, reacting to the audio Friday, said “this is a MAGA party now.”
“It’s, you know, you got the senator from Texas and others,” Biden said, though it is unclear whether he was referring to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz or Texas Sen. John Cornyn. “These guys are a different breed of cat.”
“And the people who know better are afraid to act correctly because they know they’ll be primaried,” the president said, noting that “up to six” congressional Republicans have come to him saying, “Joe, I want to be with you on such and such, but I can’t. I’ll be primaried. I’ll lose my race.”
“So, folks, we’re going to—this is going to start to change,” Biden said.
“They talk about the split in the Democratic Party—there’s virtually no split in the Democratic Party,” Biden said, adding that “48 of my Democratic colleagues in the Senate vote with me 94% of the time.”
McCarthy is the GOP front-runner to take over the speakership should Republicans take back the House in November, which is decided by internal elections in Congress.
Elections for Speaker of the House tend to happen on the first day of a new Congress — January 3 — which means if the leak was an attempt to sink McCarthy’s run for speaker, it came incredibly early.