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GOP governor calls on Biden to apologize for suggesting 'semi-fascism' drives some Trump-backing Republicans

CNN logo CNN 8/28/2022 Devan Cole
'Horribly insulting': GOP governor reacts to Biden's comments made at closed DNC event
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A Republican governor is calling on President Joe Biden to apologize for suggesting that the driving force behind some GOP supporters of former President Donald Trump was akin to “semi-fascism.”

“The fact that the President would go out and just insult half of America … effectively call 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,” Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” on Sunday.

“And people should be insulted by it. And he should apologize,” he added.

Last week, Biden offered one of his sharpest rebukes of Republicans who have stuck to the MAGA credo of his predecessor, labeling it “semi-fascism” and predicting it has gone too far for most of the country.

“What we’re seeing now is either the beginning or the death knell of an extreme MAGA philosophy,” Biden told a group of Democratic donors at a private home in Maryland ahead of a rally with state leaders. “It’s not just Trump,” he went on, “it’s the entire philosophy that underpins the – I’m going to say something: It’s like semi-fascism.”

Asked by Bash whether he sees any elements of “semi-fascism” in his party, Sununu noted: “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 said. “If I remember, this was the guy, the candidate at the time to be president, that said he was going to bring everybody together. And then to call half of America fascists, come on.”

Sununu is currently running for a fourth two-year term as New Hampshire governor after previously declining national party entreaties to challenge Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan in November.

Biden’s attacks on Trump, and Republicans who have remained loyal to him, have grown distinctly sharper as November’s midterm elections approach.

Labeling Trump’s views a type of proto-fascism marked an escalation in the President’s reprimands of his predecessor and laid the groundwork for a midterm political message designed to paint his opponents as too extreme for most voters.

CNN’s Kevin Liptak and Betsy Klein contributed to this report.

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