President Joe Biden criticized the philosophy behind his predecessor, Donald Trump, at a fundraiser on Thursday, saying the MAGA movement embraced by large sections of the Republican Party was akin to “semi-fascism”.
The president, speaking at a Democratic fundraiser in Maryland, called Republicans “extreme” and said he was concerned about the state of democracy in the United States. Biden added that he was unsure whether the Republican Party’s far-right leaning was coming to an end or just beginning, warning those gathered to vote during the November election to reject the “ultra MAGA agenda”, referring to the “Make America Great ” by Trump. Again” mantra.
“What we’re seeing now is the beginning or the death knell of an extreme MAGA philosophy,” Biden said. “It’s not just Trump, it’s the whole philosophy that underpins the… I’ll say one thing, it’s like semi-fascism.”‘
Biden went on to say he didn’t realize how damaging Trump’s term in the White House was to the country’s international standing when he first entered the Oval Office. Those statements marked some of his most scathing comments yet directed at the Republican establishment.
“I underestimated how much damage the previous four years had done in terms of America’s reputation in the world,” the president said, before adding that he remains hopeful that those losses can be recovered.
“I believe there’s nothing the United States can’t do if we put our minds to it,” Biden said.
President Joe Biden speaks during a rally hosted by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) at Richard Montgomery High School on August 25, 2022 in Rockville, Maryland. Biden rallied supporters of Democratic candidates running in Maryland and encouraged Democratic voters across the country to attend the November midterm elections. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) (Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty Images)
The White House is hoping to score a string of political victories in the November election, including the landmark Inflation Reduction Act passed earlier this month and its decision to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for millions of Americans. Democrats also hope to leverage national anger over the Republican Party’s efforts to limit access to abortion and voting rights and stave off Republican efforts to seize control of either chamber of Congress.
Biden this week began a national tour to support Democratic candidates running for congressional and local seats. He warned that Republican supporters would not stop at their recent victories after the Supreme Court struck down the landmark Roe v. Wade, but would go on to attack other civil liberties, including same-sex marriage.
“It’s no exaggeration now that you need to vote to literally save democracy again,” the president told a crowd at the Democratic National Committee event on Thursday, according to Reuters reports. “America must choose. You must choose. Whether our country will advance or retreat.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.