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Biden says Republican Party numbers 'vastly diminished' under Trump

·2 min read

By Steve Holland 

  BRUSSELS (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden views the Republican Party as vastly diminished in numbers even as it remains in lockstep with the man he defeated, former President Donald Trump. 

  "The leadership of the Republican Party is fractured and the Trump wing of the party is the bulk of the party, but it makes up a significant minority of the American people," Biden told a news conference in Brussels after a NATO summit. 

  "I think it's appropriate to say that the Republican Party is vastly diminished in numbers," Biden, a Democrat, said without offering evidence for the assertion. 

  A Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll https://polling.reuters.com/poll/PARTY_ID_ in April showed 36% of Americans identifying as Republican-leaning, compared with 42% for Democrats, roughly the same as a year ago. Democrats narrowly control both houses of Congress, and 23 U.S. states have Democratic governors, compared with 27 led by Republicans. 

  "Joe Biden’s comments about the GOP are lies and his dismissal of the 74 million Americans who voted Republican in November 2020, which flipped 15 seats in the House, underscores his failure to unite and lead our country," Republican National Committee spokeswoman Emma Vaughn said. 

  A majority, some 53%, of Republicans believe Trump won the 2020 U.S. presidential election and blame his loss to Biden on illegal voting, and one quarter of the overall public agreed that Trump won, the poll found. 

  Biden won the election by more than 7 million votes and a 306-232 margin in the Electoral College. Trump continues to argue that he lost due to rampant electoral fraud, claims that were rejected by multiple courts and state election officials. 

  Biden has sought in Europe to counter China and Russia by shoring up traditional international alliances that frayed under Trump. International leaders, he said, understand that "we're a decent, honorable nation." 

  His comments about Republicans aside, Biden hopes to salvage a deal with the opposition party on infrastructure spending. He believes doing so may hold the key to his party retaining its weak grasp on legislative power. 

  "The agenda, whether it's dealing with the vaccine, the economy, infrastructure. It's important that we demonstrate we can make progress," Biden said. 

  Democrats hold a narrow majority in the House of Representatives, and 50 votes in the 100-seat Senate, where ties are broken by Biden's vice president, Kamala Harris. Elections for the House and for a number of Senate seats will be held in November 2022. 

  (Reporting by Steve Holland, Sabine Siebold and Philip Blenkinsop; Additional reporting by Chris Kahn in New York; Writing by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Heather Timmons, Howard Goller and Peter Cooney) 

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