Speaker Johnson slams ‘desperate’ Biden after calling GOP ‘worse’ than segregationists at fundraiser

President Biden this week attacked the Republican Party as worse than segregationists, prompting backlash from party leaders.

Biden made the remarks at a fundraiser on Wednesday, saying the current GOP is worse than the ‘real racists’ he served alongside in the 1970s.

‘I’ve been a senator since ’72. I’ve served with real racists. I’ve served with Strom Thurmond. I’ve served with all these guys that have set terrible records on race,’ Biden told the crowd at the fundraiser, according to the White House press pool.

The president continued, ‘But guess what? These guys are worse. These guys do not believe in basic democratic principles.’

Biden’s words sparked backlash from GOP leaders — specifically Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, who called the president ‘desperate’ and ‘underwater in the polls.’

‘Outrageous,’ Johnson said on social media in reaction to the president’s remarks. ‘The least popular President to seek re-election is now so desperate and so underwater in the polls he’s playing the race card from the bottom of the deck.’

Strom Thurmond was a South Carolina senator and ‘Dixiecrat’ presidential candidate who supported segregation. 

The president’s choice to mention Thurmond was notable due to his noted relationship with the Dixiecrat, whom he eulogized following his death.

In his eulogy more than 15 years ago for Thurmond, who later became a Republican, Biden said that while their ‘differences were profound,’ he got to know him and ‘watched him change, oh so subtly.’

‘I went to the Senate emboldened, angered and outraged at age 29 about the treatment of African-Americans in this country, about everything for a period in his life Strom represented. But then I met the man,’ Biden said at the time.

Last year, Biden also claimed to have ‘literally’ convinced Thurmond to vote for the Civil Rights Act — when he was just 21 years old.

‘I was able to — literally, not figuratively — talk Strom Thurmond into voting for the Civil Rights Act before he died,’ the president said at an event for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Biden was born on Nov. 20, 1942. The Civil Rights Act passed the Senate on June 19, 1964.

While Thurmond and Biden were contemporaries in the Senate, the president would have been 21 at the time of the landmark legislation’s passing — and nowhere near the Senate seat he won at 29 years old.

Fox News Digital’s Alex Pappas and Houston Keene contributed to this report.

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