Former White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that Republicans’ rhetorical strategy of comparing the alleged wrongdoings of former President Trump and those of Hunter Biden creates a “false equivalency” and mirrors tactics employed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and other authoritarian regimes.
“[Republicans want to] muddy the waters out there. That, by the way, is a tactic that Vladimir Putin and other authoritarian dictators use,” Psaki, an MSNBC host, said on “José Díaz-Balart Reports.”
“But that’s their strategic objective — to make it all seem the same,” the former top spokesperson for President Biden added.
Psaki noted that the president’s son, whose plea deal on tax- and gun-related charges recently fell apart in court, has become a provocative talking point for the GOP base, but she stressed the charges he faces are very different from Trump’s.
“Raising Hunter Biden is something that certainly gets the Republican base going. What they want, strategically, is there to be this false equivalency between Hunter Biden — who, yes, didn’t pay taxes for two years, didn’t register his gun. Yes, that’s serious. There are consequences. He’s going through the legal process. They’re working through that process on the plea deal,” she said.
“That is not the same — and I think it’s important to state this — as a former president trying to overturn the outcome of an election or obstructing justice, as he’s been indicted for,” Psaki added. “What the Trump team wants is false equivalency so that it all feels the same.”
In the interview, political strategist Matthew Dowd responded by noting that historically, invoking a candidate’s relative has not proven to be successful in winning an election. While it might get the base excited, Dowd said, swing voters have generally proven not to care.
“There’s a history in our country of people, the opposite opposing party trying to bring relatives into the campaign. It never works,” he said, before listing examples. “I remember with George W. Bush, they brought up Neil Bush over and over and over again. George Bush got elected. Roger Clinton was brought up over and over, the half-brother of Bill Clinton, it never worked. [Richard Nixon’s] brother was brought up over and over and over again. It didn’t work. Billy Carter was brought up in 1966. It doesn’t work.”
“It’s a distraction. It feeds the base. Swing voters do not care about Hunter Biden,” Dowd added.