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Photo: Andre Chung for the Washington Post via Getty Images

Some advisers close to President-elect Joe Biden are frustrated over a Glamour magazine interview in which incoming White House deputy chief of staff Jen O'Malley Dillon referred to Republicans on Capitol Hill as "f--kers."

Why it matters: Biden campaigned for the presidency by promising to "restore the soul of America" and not to question the motives of political opponents, whom he insists aren't enemies. Fighting words from a high-level staffer could give Republicans ammunition to cast doubt on Biden's sincerity.

  • After the Electoral College affirmed Biden's victory on Monday, he promised to "turn the page" on the campaign and "heal" the country.
  • Some donors want O'Malley Dillon, his campaign manager, to apologize — to Biden and perhaps to congressional Republicans.

Between the lines: This is one of the first signs of division in a team that's prided itself through the campaign and transition on unity, message discipline and minimal leaks, and is now preparing to govern.

  • "For those of us who, from Day One, bought into Biden's calls for civility and a return to normalcy, this isn't just beyond the pale — it's plain stupid," said one Biden donor.

The other side: "Could she have used a different adjective, sure," said one Biden official. "But if you know Jen ... she is real, she is authentic, she says it how it is."

O'Malley Dillon didn't respond to a request for comment.

  • After Axios sought a response from the transition team, Biden communications director Kate Bedingfield posted a tweet saying that O'Malley Dillon "would be the first to tell you her mom doesn't approve of spicy language" but that "the point she was making ... unity and healing are possible — and we can get things done."

Details: In the interview, O'Malley Dillon also called Senate Majority Mitch McConnell "terrible."

  • But she didn't foreclose the possibility of working with Republicans, and she suggested that Biden won, in part, because of his optimism: "The president-elect was able to connect with people over this sense of unity."
  • On Sunday, she and Mike Donilon, who will serve as a White House counselor, laid out Biden's governing approach, with Donilon saying Biden has "made it clear that he intends to work, if possible, across the aisle."
  • Biden wants to project a message that Republicans aren't bad people and that when Donald Trump departs the scene they may have an "epiphany."

Be smart: Biden confidants don't necessarily disagree with O'Malley Dillon's darker sentiments; they disagree with her decision to say them for public consumption.

  • There is deep skepticism among Democrats that Republicans actually want to work with them, even as Biden genuinely believes that his dealmaking skills can prevail.

Go deeper

The week the Trump show ended

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Donald Trump was eclipsed in media attention last week by President Biden for the first time since Trump took office, according to viewership data on the internet, on social media and on cable news.

Why it matters: After Trump crowded out nearly every other news figure and topic for five years, momentum of the new administration took hold last week and the former president retreated, partly by choice and partly by being forced off the big platforms.

Updated 35 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Here come Earmarks 2.0

DeLauro at a hearing in May 2020. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Appropriations Committee is preparing to restore a limited version of earmarks, which give lawmakers power to direct spending to their districts to pay for special projects.

Why it matters: A series of scandals involving members in both parties prompted a moratorium on earmarks in 2011. But Democrats argue it's worth the risk to bring them back because earmarks would increase their leverage to pass critical legislation with a narrow majority, especially infrastructure and spending bills.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

UN says Paris carbon-cutting plans fall far short

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Nations' formal emissions-cutting pledges are collectively way too weak to put the world on track to meet the Paris climate deal's temperature-limiting target, a United Nations tally shows.

Driving the news: This morning the UN released an analysis of the most recent nationally determined contributions (NDCs) — that is, countries' medium-term emissions targets submitted under the 2015 pact.