Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) seemed to think he had a slam dunk argument against President Biden’s rush of executive orders. But in an attempt to spin Biden’s own words against him on Thursday, McConnell ended up replacing Biden’s quote with a misleading version that has been circulating online.
Biden has signed more than 30 executive orders since he took office last week, taking aim at former President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdowns, loosened environmental policies, and more. McConnell on Thursday claimed the flurry of orders flew in the face of what Biden said in an October town hall: That “you can’t legislate by executive action unless you are a dictator.” But as CNN’s Daniel Dale points out, Biden actually said “there are some things you can’t do by executive order unless you’re a dictator,” with no reference to legislation.
Fox News host Sean Hannity similarly tweeted out the false quote as a “flashback” just a few hours prior. Hannity got it from a tweet by Tom Elliott, who shares news clips with a conservative spin and misleadingly paraphrased Biden as saying “you can’t [legislate] by executive order unless you’re a dictator.”
.@JoeBiden in October: “I have this strange notion, we are a democracy … if you can’t get the votes … you can’t [legislate] by executive order unless you’re a dictator. We’re a democracy. We need consensus.” pic.twitter.com/7UotJCXSm3
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) January 26, 2021
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked about the quote on Thursday, and told reporters it was taken out of context.
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