Avlon joined a panel discussion on Tuesday morning’s broadcast of “New Day,” and he argued that at the very least, Biden was not doing himself any favors with independent voters when he painted half the country with such a broad and unflattering brush.
CNN’s John Avlon says Biden’s “semi-fascist” remarks are “not helpful,” and “not befitting of the office of the president.@ScottJenningsKY: “Biden has all the precision of a surgeon with a meat ax.” pic.twitter.com/WYJSkxcWmF
— Virginia Kruta (@VAKruta) August 30, 2022
The discussion began with CNN political commentator — and former National Coalitions Director for Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris — Ashley Allison, who argued that the United States was in a precarious position with regard to preserving democracy.
“I also want to put context into what the president said. He did not call half of America fascist,” she said. “He said people who believe that the 2020 election was stolen, people who want to ban books, people who are taking these steps — we’re on a very dangerous line and we have to call a thing a thing. Or we run a risk allowing someone like Donald Trump — we just had a conversation how dangerous he is — I don’t think Joe Biden is calling everybody fascist but you have to stand up for right and right and wrong is wrong.”
Avlon pointed out the fact that the language was the problem, arguing that it was not helpful for Biden to be seen as divisive.
“The term semi-fascist is not helpful, it’s not befitting the office of president,” he said. “While you can absolutely call out the dangers to our democracy — but it makes perfect sense for someone like Sen. Hassan because, look, in New Hampshire, more than 40% of registered voters are Independent, another 30 and change are Republicans. 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.”
“Actually — you’re being kind trying to parse and put what he said in a certain context,” Republican strategist Alice Stewart added. “The takeaway from Republicans is that the President of the United States — who campaigned on, won on, and was sworn in on a message of unity, lowering the temperature and bringing this country together — just called half the country fascist.”
“Not half —” Avlon objected.
“You can parse it how you want, but that’s the takeaway … He painted the Republican Party as a bunch of fascists,” Stewart repeated.
“This isn’t the one-time thing, I mean, Biden has all the precision of a surgeon with a meat ax, here,” Republican commentator Scott Jennings added. “When Republicans wouldn’t go along with his bill to federalize all elections, he said, well, you’re either Jefferson Davis or Bull Connor. His natural instinct is to go to an extreme insult. You’re either racist or fascist.”