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Biden hammered for saying 2022 midterms 'could easily be illegitimate.' Even CNN's hosts ripped the president's election remarks.

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Joe Biden is facing swift backlash after he said that the 2022 midterm elections could be "illegitimate."

During President Biden's rare press conference on Wednesday, he was asked if the 2022 midterm elections would be "fairly conducted" and the results "legitimate" if Congress doesn't pass voting rights legislation.

"Well, it all depends on whether or not we’re able to make the case to the American people that some of this is being set up to try to alter the outcome of the election," Biden responded, referring to more stringent voting rules enacted by Republicans following the 2020 election.

"Well, I think if, in fact — no matter how hard they make it for minorities to vote, I think you’re going to see them willing to stand in line and — and defy the attempt to keep them from being able to vote," Biden said. "I think you’re going to see the people who they’re trying to keep from being able to show up, showing up and making the sacrifice that needs to make in order to change the law back to what it should be."

Later in the press conference, a reporter asked a follow-up question about the legitimacy of the 2022 midterms.

"I just wanted to clarify: A moment ago, you were asked whether or not you believed that we would have free and fair elections in 2022 if some of these state legislatures reformed their voting protocols. You said that it depends," the reporter said, before asking, "Do you — do you think that they would in any way be illegitimate?"

"Oh, yeah, I think it easily could be — be illegitimate," Biden replied. "Imagine — imagine if, in fact, Trump had succeeded in convincing Pence to not count the votes."

The reporter attempted to focus the question back on the 2022 midterm elections.

Biden reacts, "Oh, 2022. I mean, imagine if those attempts to say that the count was not legit."

"I mean, sure, but — I’m not going to say it’s going to be legit," President Biden said of the 2022 midterm elections.

"The increase and the prospect of being illegitimate is in direct proportion to us not being able to get these — these reforms passed," Biden said.

"But I don’t think you’re going to see — you’re not going to see me and I don’t think you’re going to see the Democratic Party give up on coming back and assuming that the attempt fails today," Biden concluded.

Republicans skewered President Biden for making claims that the upcoming November elections could be illegitimate. Many noted that former President Donald Trump was attacked by the media and Democrats for questioning the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) told Fox News: "It's unfortunate. As you know, the Democrats have been highly critical of those Republicans who refused to accept the results of the last election and use the word ‘rigged’ to say that elections weren't fair. They're using the exact same language and casting doubt on elections. It's irresponsible."

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) declared: "I think it was shocking, to be honest with you. Just shocking. To have the president of the United States trying to undermine the results of an election before there's actually an election is a stunning manifestation."

Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.) remarked: "Joe Biden dangerously claiming results of 2022 elections will be illegitimate unless Congress passes his election power grab."

Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel slammed the president: "In the same press conference, Biden continued to baselessly smear election integrity provisions, and then signaled to Putin that a 'minor incursion' into Ukraine is ok. Unreal."

But it wasn't just Republicans who slammed Biden for proclaiming that the 2022 midterm elections could be illegitimate.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) disagreed with Biden: "We might have a difference of opinion. I believe in the Department of Justice doing its job."

As the Daily Wire pointed out, even CNN blasted President Biden for suggesting that the midterm election results could be tainted.

CNN chief national correspondent John King emphasized: "It is striking to hear an American president not named Donald Trump raise questions about the legitimacy and sanctity of our democracy."

CNN anchor Jake Tapper said: "And quite strikingly, the president said that the upcoming midterm elections might not be legitimate if the election reform bills before the Senate are not passed. … President Biden just said, with Donald Trump’s history when it comes to the big lie on the elections, but he refused to say that the election results this midterm — in these midterms in November would be legitimate. He refused it."

CNN anchor Dana Bash slammed Biden: "Well, particularly the first part, Anderson, what he said, was — actually the entire thing, but the first part was probably the most jarring to hear a President of the United States who is not Donald Trump, even suggest ahead of time that an election isn’t legitimate."

On Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki attempted to do some damage control: "Let's be clear: @potus was not casting doubt on the legitimacy of the 2022 election. He was making the opposite point: In 2020, a record number of voters turned out in the face of a pandemic, and election officials made sure they could vote and have those votes counted."

"Today" host Savannah Guthrie pressed Vice President Kamala Harris on Biden suggesting that the 2022 elections could be illegitimate.

"[Biden] openly cast doubt on whether the 2022 midterm elections would be legitimate. He said it all depends, which is astonishing to hear a president question whether our elections will be legitimate. We’ve heard it before, but not from this president," Guthrie said, then asked, "Is he really concerned that we may not have fair and free elections?"

Harris dodged the question and responded, "The president has been consistent on this issue. And the issue at hand, the issue — I was there last night in the chamber of the Senate, and the issue is that there are two bills, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, that have been the solution that has been offered to address the fact that around our country states have put in place laws that are purposely making it more difficult for the American people to vote."

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