Top Biden aide calls Republicans ‘f**kers’
A top aide to President-elect Joe Biden has walked back comments calling senior Republicans a "bunch of f**kers".
Jen O'Malley Dillon, Mr Biden's campaign manager and incoming White House deputy chief of staff, made the comments in an interview with Glamour magazine published on Tuesday.
She was commenting on the value of political compromise, reflecting on the pushback the former Vice President received during the Democratic primaries for seeking a return to an earlier era of bipartisanship.
"The president-elect was able to connect with people over this sense of unity," she said.
"In the primary, people would mock him, like, 'You think you can work with Republicans?' I'm not saying they're not a bunch of f**kers. Mitch McConnell is terrible," she said, referring to the Republican Senate majority leader who on Tuesday warmly congratulated his long-time colleague on his election win.
"But this sense that you couldn't wish for that, you couldn't wish for this bipartisan ideal? He rejected that. From start to finish, he 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."
In his victory speech on November 7, Mr Biden pledged to be a President "who seeks not to divide but unify".
"Who doesn't see red states and blue states, only sees the United States," he said.
"I understand the disappointment tonight. But now let's give each other a chance. It's time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature. To make progress we have to stop treating our opponents as our enemies. They are not our enemies, they are Americans."
Ms O'Malley Dillon's comments sparked backlash from conservatives and even Biden donors, some of whom wanted her to apologise, Axios reported.
"For those of us who, from day one, bought into Biden's calls for civility and a return to normalcy, this isn't just beyond the pale - it's plain stupid," one told the website.
But another Biden official brushed off the comments, saying she was telling it "how it is". "Could she have used a different adjective, sure," the official told Axios. "But if you know Jen, she is real, she is authentic, she says it how it is."
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.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) December 17, 2020
Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton also leapt to her defence.
"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," Ms Clinton tweeted.
Ms O'Malley Dillon - the first woman to manage a successful Democratic presidential campaign - walked back the comments in a virtual conversation on Thursday, Politico reported.
Speaking with Democratic operatives Stephanie Cutter and Teddy Goff, she acknowledged she "used some words that I probably could have chosen better".
"The point that I was really making (in 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 said.
Originally published as Top Biden aide calls Republicans 'f**kers'