WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden took an unusually harsh swipe at his Republican opponents during Earth Day remarks on Friday, calling their party the "MAGA party," a reference to former President Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan.
"This ain’t your father’s Republican Party,” Biden said during remarks in Seattle, as he described the difficulty in getting Republican support for his climate change and other goals in Congress.
"All you got to do is look at what’s being played this morning, about the tape that was released," Biden said, without going into specifics.
The Democratic president was referring to an audiotape made public this week that showed Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, saying that Republican then-President Donald Trump should resign over the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot.
McCarthy publicly zigzagged on Trump's culpability for the Jan. 6 riot, saying the former president bore some responsibility for the violence -- then visiting him at his Mar-a-Lago resort home in Florida.
"All kidding aside, this is a MAGA party now,” Biden added. “These guys are a different breed of cat."
Republicans who "know better are afraid to act because they know they will be primaried," Biden said, referring to primaries, or party nominating contests.
Republican officials who criticize Trump potentially risk drawing his ire or that of his supporters, and losing their positions in a primary to a challenger.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; writing by Heather Timmons; editing by Jonathan Oatis)