During Wednesday’s press briefing, Jean-Pierre told RealClearPolitics’ Philip Wegmann that Biden was concerned about an “extreme portion” of the country — and she said that was not limited to only those in positions of leadership within the Republican Party.
.@PhilipWegmann: "For folks sitting at home, when [Biden] is talking about…those threats…he's not referring to [them]. He's talking about [GOP] leadership?"
KJP: "Well…it's not just…leadership. It's not just that…He is talking about..an extreme portion" of the country. pic.twitter.com/7wieQBYfJi
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) August 31, 2022
“When it comes to voters, how does the president differentiate between the ultra-MAGA folks who he sees as an extremist threat to democracy and the average GOP voter?” Wegmann asked.
“So — can’t talk about voters from here,” Jean-Pierre replied, prompting a brief objection from Wegmann.
“I just need to say that, just to be clear,” Jean-Pierre waved him off. “I mean, the president has been really clear about the leadership, right, the MAGA Republicans in leadership. They’re the ones who have the platform, they’re the ones who — again, the extremist part of the Republican Party. They’re the ones who folks listen to in their own party, and by inciting violence, by trying to take away — they’re the ones who are the legislators who are trying to take away our rights, trying to take away our freedoms. And that’s who the president is speaking to, right, he’s being very targeted in that way in calling that out.”
She went on to say that Biden believed it was important to keep calling that out because he couldn’t allow democracy to be “attacked” in that way.
Wegmann pushed back, asking Jean-Pierre to clarify that Biden was not referring to the average Republican voter who was sitting at home, watching things unfold on cable news.
“For folks sitting at home, when the president is talking about preserving the soul of the nation and those threats to democracy, he’s not referring to those individuals, he’s talking about Republican leadership?” Wegmann pressed.
“Well, let me be very clear: it’s not just Republican leadership,” Jean-Pierre contradicted the position she’d taken just seconds earlier. “It’s not just that blanket, right, he is talking about an extreme portion, an extreme part of the party. He’s been very, very clear about that.”
Jean-Pierre went on to say that Biden didn’t mean all Republicans, noting that he had recently singled out Republican Maryland Governor Larry Hogan as a conservative Republican who was “not in that bucket.”