President-elect Joe Biden has promised to bring unity to a divided nation, but one of his top staffers, who is a reflection of him is clearly not on the same page with that message.
Campaign Manager and incoming White House deputy chief of staff Jen O’Malley Dillon on Thursday attempted to walk back her controversial remarks she made earlier this week when she called GOP lawmakers “a bunch of f*ckers” claiming that she was misunderstood, but didn’t offer any type of apology.
Addressing the controversy in a virtual event Thursday with her former communication firm Precision Strategies, O’Malley Dillon defended the context she believes she was intending to make in argued was “the point that I was really making” from the Glamour interview “is an incredibly important point. And that really is about the president-elect and why he was supported by over 81 million people, and what they were looking for.”
She acknowledged that she “used some words that I probably could have chosen better,” and didn’t utter any sort of apology for making the controversial divisive remark.
O’Malley Dillion has come under fire after she had some fighting words Tuesday for the opposite party, calling GOP lawmakers “a bunch of f*ckers” and that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is “terrible,” while discussing how she believes the Biden administration would try to work with them to bring unity to this country.
In a lengthy interview with Glamour’s Glennon Doyle that was posted on Wednesday, O’Malley Dillon reflected the blowback Biden received during the Democratic presidential primary when mentioning to he would return to the time of Washington bipartisanship and that Republicans would be receptive to this idea, an era many liberal Democrats argued and fought against.
“The president-elect was able to connect with people over this sense of unity. In the primary, people would mock him, like, ‘You think you can work with Republicans?'” O’Malley Dillon told Glamour. “I’m not saying they’re not a bunch of f*ckers. Mitch McConnell is terrible. But this sense that you couldn’t wish for that, you couldn’t wish for this bipartisan ideal? He rejected that.”
O’Malley Dillon acknowledged that Biden’s “idea that unity was possible” wouldn’t be easy, but thinks once he officially starts to govern that he and his team will be able to “break down” the division politics has created.
“From start to finish, [Biden] set out with this idea that unity was possible, that together we are stronger, that we, as a country, need healing, and our politics needs that too,” O’Malley Dillon said. “Which is not to say it is easy. It is like a relationship. You can’t do politics alone. If the other person is not willing to do the work, then that becomes really hard. But I think, more than not, people want to see impact.”
“They want to see us moving in a path forward… And this overhang of this negative, polarized electorate that politics has created is the thing that I think we can break down,” she added.
Biden campaigned with the slogan of promising to “restore the soul of America” and has repeatedly insisted during the Democratic primary and general election that he can get things done even with a GOP majority in the Senate, saying his 47 years decades in the Senate and long working and personal relationships with some GOP lawmakers would help him to be able to work with Republicans.
On Monday, shortly after the Electoral College declared Biden’s election win, the president-elect declare it time to “turn the page” and “to unite” while promising “to heal” the country. However, in the same speech, Biden took swipes at President Trump’s legal challenges to overturn the election.
Just a day before, McConnell recognized Biden’s victory over President Trump after the Electoral College certified the election results in all 50 states. Biden told reporters before heading to Georgia a few hours after the Majority Leader remarks said that he called McConnell to thank him for recognizing his victory and said that they had a “good conversation.”
O’Malley Dillon divisive remarks received backlash from Republican officials and conservative figures, whom most believe the Biden administration has no intention of keeping the promise to bring unity to a divided country while insisting his political opponents.
“Biden Campaign Manager called us “F***ers” !!!” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany posted on Twitter. “She can try to walk back, but this says volumes about her boss who calls for “unity” while shouting that we are “assaulting democracy,” They think we are deplorable, irredeemable “F***ers”. SICK!!”
“Biden talks about unity and healing, but you want to know what they really think?“Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted. “Read how the person he wants as the next WH deputy chief of staff called Republicans in Congress a bunch of f***ers.”
Some advisers close to Biden are apparently frustrated over O’Malley Dillon magazine interview, while some donors are calling for her apologize to Biden and congressional Republicans personally.
A Biden donor told Axios the comments were “beyond the pale” and “plain stupid” that undercuts Biden’s “calls for civility and a return to normalcy.”
However, a majority of Democrats are adding fuel to the fire in defending and praising O’Malley Dillon for speaking her mind, accusing Republicans of having a double standard after standing by President Trump despite his controversial remarks.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused O’Malley Dillon’s critics of insincerity responding in a tweet Thursday “People who stood by Donald Trump for the last four years are now claiming to be offended that a Democratic campaign manager used a curse word? I don’t think so.”
“Seems like after leading a winning campaign, Jen O’Malley Dillon is entitled to speak her mind without donors telling her to apologize,” Brian Fallon, executive director for Demand Justice and national press secretary for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign tweeted. “Republicans are going to wheel out their fainting couches and invent grievances constantly the next four years. It is better not be indulge it.”
Biden communications director Kate Bedingfield and incoming White House Communications Director defended her colleagues “spicy language.”
“So @jomalleydillon would be the first to tell you her mom doesn’t approve of the spicy language, but I would be the first to tell you that the point she was making in this conversation with @GlennonDoyle is spot on: unity and healing are possible — and we can get things done,” Bedingfield tweeted.