CNN senior political analyst John Avlon slammed President Biden on Tuesday for accusing the GOP of embracing “semi-fascism” – a rebuke that came as CNN bosses purportedly push the left-leaning network’s personalities to focus on non-partisan news coverage.
Avlon argued that Biden’s inflammatory remarks toward Republicans at a Democratic donor rally last week were “not helpful” for Democrats struggling to connect with swing voters.
Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), who is up for re-election in the Granite State, was among those who pushed back on Biden’s framing of the political landscape.
“The term semi-fascist is not helpful,” Avlon said during an appearance on CNN’s “New Day” on Tuesday. “It’s not befitting the office of president.”
“You can absolutely call out the dangers to our democracy, but it makes obviously perfect sense for someone like Sen. Hassan, because look, in New Hampshire, more than 40% of registered voters are independent,” Avlon added. “Another 30-and-change are Republicans. Democrats are the third category among registered voters, so she needs to be able to reach out and that language doesn’t help her do that.”
Alice Stewart, a fellow CNN panelist and Republican strategist, said Avlon was “being kind” in his interpretation of Biden’s words.
“The takeaway from Republicans is that the President of the United States, who campaigned on, won on, and was sworn in on a message of unity, lowering the temperature and bringing this country together, just called half of the country fascist,” Stewart said.
Mediaite earlier reported on Avlon’s remarks during the segment.
Biden ripped Republicans during an appearance at a Democratic fundraiser rally in Maryland last Thursday, urging supporters “to vote to literally save democracy once again” in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections.
“What we’re seeing now is either the beginning or the death knell of an extreme MAGA philosophy,” Biden told donors at the rally. “It’s not just Trump, it’s the entire philosophy that underpins the — I’m going to say something, it’s like semi-fascism.”
Later in the event, Biden said that he respects “conservative Republicans” but not “these MAGA Republicans.”
Hassan reacted to Biden’s comments on Monday, arguing the president had “painted with way too broad a brush” in invoking the phrase, according to WMUR.
Meanwhile, new CNN President Chris Licht and WarnerBros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav are in the midst of an overhaul at the network, whose personalities frequently took an antagonist stance toward Republicans during the Trump administration.
John Malone, a major WarnerBros. Discovery shareholder, recently said he wanted CNN to be “more centrist,” even as he denied having any role in the network’s decision to oust liberal anchor Brian Stelter earlier this month.
The Daily Beast reported last week that Licht was planning on “blowing up” the “New Day” morning show due to low ratings. Licht previously indicated at an upfront presentation in May that CNN wanted to “reimagine” its morning programming, but provided no additional specifics.