AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File
- A top Biden ally said attacks on the White House are “the same foolishness” that got Trump elected.
- “The country didn’t elect Joe Biden because they wanted a Democratic Donald Trump,” Cedric Richmond told CNN.
- The White House and Congress are pointing the finger at each other for solutions to key challenges.
A top ally of President Joe Biden, Cedric Richmond, argued that Democratic attacks and criticisms of the Biden White House are “the same foolishness” that got former President Donald Trump elected.
Democrats on and off Capitol Hill are increasingly frustrated and disappointed with what they see as a woefully inadequate response and lack of urgency from the White House to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, sources told CNN.
“The country didn’t elect Joe Biden because they wanted a Democratic Donald Trump to go out there every day and divide the country more,” Richmond, the former director of the White House’s Office of Public Engagement and former Biden campaign surrogate, told CNN.
Richmond, now a senior adviser at the Democratic National Committee, said Democrats openly attacking the administration are “scapegoating the President, or distracted and not focusing on what they should be focused on.”
“He saved democracy once by beating a tyrant. He’s doing it again, but he doesn’t do it by beating his chest,” Richmond added.
Richmond, a former Democratic congressman from Louisiana, criticized attacks on the administration as “the same foolishness that got us Donald Trump,” likening criticisms of Biden to critiques of 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton from within the party.”
Richmond said that claims like “Hillary wasn’t good enough” and “she’s not fighting hard enough” are “what got us Donald Trump. And that got us Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. Case closed.”
Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who the White House tapped to help roll out the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Congress passed in 2021, argued that Biden is restoring the norms of the presidency but not bulldozing ahead with unilateral action or meddling with independent federal agencies.
“This is what separates him from Donald Trump, and it’s an important separation. He says, ‘I am not a dictator. I am not an autocrat,'” Landrieu told CNN, echoing Richmond’s comments.
Landrieu also partially pointed the finger at Congress for not passing more of Biden’s economic agenda in reconciliation, drug pricing legislation, and a major anti-China competitiveness bill currently languishing in limbo, saying, “it’s just the nature of politics sometimes you just say, ‘I wish somebody else would help,’ when we’re really this is all hands on deck.”
But not everyone in Congress is satisfied with Biden’s proposed policy solutions or how Biden is using his bully pulpit in areas like abortion, where the administration has limited tools at its disposal to bolster access to the procedure.
“There’s no fight,” a Democratic member of Congress told CNN. “People understand that a lot of this is out of his hands — but what you want to see is the President out there swinging.”
One Democratic member of Congress described the White House’s response to multiple, overlapping challenges, including abortion and the economy, as “rudderless, aimless and hopeless.”
“It’s got to look like you’re taking actions,” Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna told CNN about inflation. “Any economist who says the President shouldn’t do anything on the economy should be fired. They can be at a think tank, they can be a professor. But they shouldn’t be at the White House.”
Another aide to a vulnerable Democratic member of Congress told the outlet that “there’s not a frontline office out there that isn’t frustrated with the lack of action coming from the White House on inflation.”
The White House has also wavered on multiple ideas to address persistently high gas prices.
Biden’s proposal for a three-month gas tax holiday doesn’t yet have the support of key Democratic members of Congress, with one Democratic official telling CNN the approach to gas prices has “the appearance of throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks.”