President Joe Biden told Democratic donors that the philosophy espoused by supporters of Donald Trump was “like semi-fascism” during a fundraiser in suburban Maryland on Friday.
“It’s not just Trump, it’s the entire philosophy that underpins,” Mr Biden said. “I’m going to say something — it’s like semi-fascism.”
He said Americans were increasingly concerned about whether democracy could be sustained following the attempted insurrection by the former president’s supporters at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
“Did you ever think two years ago, five years ago, 10 years ago, we’ll be talking about sustaining democracy in the United States of America?” Mr Biden said.
The criticism was some of Mr Biden’s harshest of the midterm campaign cycle, as Democrats fight to retain their slim majorities on Capitol Hill.
In recent weeks, Mr Biden has increasingly sought to frame the upcoming elections as a referendum on Republican loyalty to Mr Trump.
He has used an abbreviation of the former president’s Make America Great Again slogan as a pejorative word — describing Republican economic policies as “extreme, as most Maga things are”.
“Ultra-Maga” forces, Mr Biden said, “have been able to control the Republican Party. I never anticipated that happening.”
Republicans have responded by seizing on the “Ultra Maga” criticism in fundraising appeals, selling merchandise emblazoned with the phrase.
A majority of Republican members of the House of Representatives who voted to impeach Mr Trump after January 6 are either retiring or have lost primary elections ahead of November’s midterms.