In an email, McConnell’s spokesman David Popp vehemently rejected CNN’s conclusion that McConnell had incorrectly characterized Biden’s “dictator” remark. Popp said that given the full text of what Biden said in October and other campaign comments Biden made about his belief in a consensus-seeking philosophy of governing, “do not check out your fact-checking.”
We respectfully disagree. Let’s go through the relevant history.
Biden replied, “No, yes, I have to get the votes. I have to get the votes. That’s why – you know, the only me – I have this strange view. We’re a democracy. Some of my Republican friends and some of my Democrats friends even sometimes say, ‘Well, if you can not get the votes, you will do something through executive orders.’ “Things you can not do through executive orders unless you are a dictator. We are a democracy. We need consensus.”
This was familiar Biden rhetoric. Like his previous comments to the Times, the “dictator’s” remark was a critique of proposals to use executive orders for initiatives that require congressional approval, not a claim to sign many executive orders is inherently tyrannical.
Popp claimed that Biden’s subsequent opinion on the need for “consensus” shows that he made a broad statement about his government philosophy, not just narrowly about executive orders for a change in tax policy. And Popp noted that Biden had repeatedly spoken, including in the Times interview, about the importance of bringing people together and working through Congress.
It is fair. But McConnell still went too far when he hinted that Biden signed a bunch of executive orders meaning he particularly opposed the “dictator’s” comment.
There are also other important contexts.
Bidens campaign promises
Several Biden executive orders simply repeal the policies that Trump had introduced through his own executive orders without public complaint from McConnell and other Biden critics. And critically, Biden promised during the campaign that he would sign significant executive orders. In fact, many of Biden’s executive orders from early presidencies are fulfilling explicit campaign promises.
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