Updated Aug 28, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Gov. Sununu says Biden "should apologize" for "semi-facism" comments

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that President Biden owes Republicans an apology for remarks he made in Maryland on Thursday lambasting Trump-allied Republicans.

Driving the news: "MAGA Republicans don't just threaten our personal rights and economic security," Biden told the crowd at a political rally. "They're a threat to our very democracy."

  • "They embrace ... political violence. They don't believe in democracy," he added.
  • At a donor event for Democrats earlier in the evening, Biden said that "it's not just Trump, it's the entire philosophy that underpins the — I'm going to say something — it's like semi-fascism."
  • The Republican National Committee called Biden's comments "despicable."

What they're saying: Sununu called Biden's comments "horribly insulting."

  • Sununu added that Biden had effectively called "half of America semi-fascist because he's trying to stir up controversy — he's trying to stir up this anti-Republican sentiment right before the election — it's horribly inappropriate, it's insulting, and people should be insulted by it and he should apologize."

Asked if he sees any elements of semi-fascism in the Republican Party, Sununu answered "you can see elements of fascism and white supremacy in America. Let's own that as Americans."

  • "We can say that all the Democrats are communists, they're all ultra-socialist communists that just want to bring down our free capitalistic market. That's not true of Democrats either."
  • "When we allow ourselves just to talk in these extremes, we polarize the country, we bring people further apart," he added.
  • Sununu noted that Biden has pledged to bring the country together, "and then to call half of America fascist, come on. He owes an apology. That's not appropriate. That isn't leadership."

Democratic National Committee chair Jaime Harrison was asked whether he embraced Biden's rhetoric about semi-fascism during an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

  • "It's not about the embracing — it's calling what it is, what it is," Harrison replied, adding that the U.S. is a "country built on freedom."
  • "When you chip away at that, when you see the bullying that takes place in a place like Florida with [Gov. Ron] DeSantis, when you see them chip away at privacy rights, when they try to demonize the other, the attacks on transgender kids and their families, the attacks on marriage equality that we're hearing from the Supreme Court."
  • "This is not who America is. We're about freedom and rights for all of America's people, not just a select few. But the Republicans are turning a blind eye  — this extreme agenda, and this is what this election is all about."
Go deeper