President Biden said Monday that the Republican Party is now “vastly diminished in numbers,” and that the wing led by former President Donald Trump represents “a significant minority of the American people.”
At a news conference held at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Biden was asked by Washington Post reporter Anne Gearan what assurances he could give to Western allies alarmed by the power Trump still wields among his supporters, even after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
“What I’m saying to them is ‘Watch me,’” Biden responded. “They [the allies], like I do, believe that the American people are not going to sustain that kind of behavior.”
Biden went on to describe the Republican Party as a shrinking force in American politics.
“I think it’s appropriate to say that the Republican Party is vastly diminished in numbers,” he said. “The leadership of the Republican Party is fractured, and the Trump wing of the party is the bulk of the party, but it makes up a significant minority of the American people.”
A recent Gallup poll would appear to confirm Biden’s assessment. The GOP is facing its smallest share of Republican identifiers, down to 25 percent, since 2018, according to the poll, which was released in early April. While 49 percent of Americans identified as Democrats or as independents who leaned toward the Democratic Party, just 40 percent surveyed said they identified as either Republicans or leaned Republican, the largest gap since 2012.
“I would suggest that the leaders I’m dealing with in NATO and the G-7 are leaders who know our recent history, know generically the character of the American people and know where the vast center of the public stands — not Democrat/Republican, but who we are,” Biden said.
On his first foreign trip as president, Biden also attributed the successful COVID-19 vaccination push to the character of the American people, praising them for “standing up and saying what we believe to be the case, not engaging in the overwhelming hyperbole that gets engaged in by so many today. ... When I said I was going to deal with beating the virus, I was going to focus on that, I was going to get millions of shots in people’s arms, it wasn’t me. I just knew the American people.”
Biden also didn’t shy away from taking direct shots at Trump, who turned 75 on Monday, portraying him as a leader whose time has passed.
“What’s happened in terms of the consequence of President Trump’s phony populism has happened,” Biden said before turning his focus to Republican efforts to block the creation of a bipartisan congressional commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riot. “It is disappointing that so many of my Republican colleagues in the Senate who I know better have been reluctant to take on, for example, an investigation, because they are worried about being primaried. In the end, we’ve been through periods like this in American history before where there has been this reluctance to take a chance on your reelection because of the nature of your party’s politics at the moment. I think this is passing; I don’t mean easily passing. That’s why it’s so important that I succeed in my agenda.”
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