Biden in rare attack calls Trump Republicans ‘extreme political organisation’

US president coins the phrase ‘MAgenda’ in reference to party’s tax cuts for billionaires

US President Joe Biden speaks in the White House in Washington, on May 4, 2022. Bloomberg
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US President Joe Biden branded his Republican predecessor Donald Trump’s followers on Wednesday an “extreme” group in a sharp rhetorical escalation before the coming crucial elections this autumn.

Speaking to reporters about the Supreme Court’s potential scrapping of nationwide abortion rights, Mr Biden said Mr Trump’s Make America Great Again movement poses a danger to US values in the run-up to November midterm elections.

“What are the next things that are going to be attacked? Because this Maga crowd is really the most extreme political organisation that’s existed in American history, in recent American history,” he said.

Mr Biden also described Republican economic policies as “extreme, as most Maga things are”.

The Democrat painted Republican plans as favouring the wealthy, in contrast to what he said was his working-class agenda, a theme likely to be pushed heavily on the campaign trail ahead of the midterms, which will decide control of Congress.

“It’s a ‘MAgenda’. Meanwhile, millionaires and billionaires and corporations skate by,” Mr Biden said, targeting a proposal by Florida Senator Rick Scott, chairman of the Senate Republicans’ campaign organisation.

“Imagine that. Just imagine that. I think it is truly outrageous.”

The comments marked a shift by the president and the Biden administration, which have largely opted to avoid talking about his predecessor’s followers.

Mr Biden, who defeated Mr Trump in 2020, began his presidency trying to avoid mentioning Mr Trump. He did jokingly call Mr Trump a “plague” at the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday.

But Mr Trump, who in an unprecedented assault on modern US democracy continues to state the lie that he won the election, is still a strong force.

The property magnate and former reality TV performer is showing his continued electoral power in backing winning candidates in Republican primary contests ahead of the midterms. He has also repeatedly indicated that he is likely to seek the presidency again in 2024, setting up a possible rematch with Mr Biden.

News agencies contributed reporting

Updated: May 04, 2022, 6:21 PM