The White House on Friday doubled down on President Joe Biden's use of the word "fascism" to describe his Republican opponents.
Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at a briefing that the GOP record and agenda is the very "definition of facism," defending the president's remarks, which Republicans had called "despicable."
"I was very clear when laying out and defining what MAGA Republicans have done, and you look at the definition of fascism, and you think about what they're doing in attacking our democracy, what they're doing in taking away our freedoms, wanting to take away our rights, our voting rights, I mean, that is what that is," Jean-Pierre said Friday.
"It is very clear and that's why [Biden] made that powerful speech that you heard from him last night," she continued. "He has not shied away from saying that. You have heard him, maybe not use that specific word, but you have heard him certainly use that definition."
Biden spoke at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Bethesda, Maryland, Thursday when he said the "Make America Great Again" agenda articulated by former President Donald Trump and embraced by his supporters is comparable to fascist ideology.
“What we’re seeing now, is either the beginning or the death knell of an extreme MAGA philosophy. It’s not just Trump, it’s the entire philosophy that underpins the - I’m going to say something, it’s like semi-fascism," Biden said at the event, according to White House pool reporters.
The president also said that he "doesn't respect these MAGA Republicans."
Jean-Pierre was asked to explain if Biden was referring to the 70 million American voters who supported Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Critics have compared the president's statement to 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's infamous "deplorables moment."
"When it comes to MAGA Republicans, when it comes to the extreme 'ultra' wing of Republicans, they are attacking democracy, right. They are taking away rights and freedoms. They are using threats of violence. They are taking away voting rights, and he called it what it is. That's what he did," Jean-Pierre said. She asserted that "historians" would agree the actions she described fit the definition of fascism.
Fascism is defined by Merriam-Webster's dictionary as, "a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition."
"What we are putting before the American people is a choice," Jean-Pierre said, adding there is a "clear contrast" between what Republicans and Democrats want to achieve.