WASHINGTON - U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on Friday cited Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels and his "Big Lie" propaganda technique when asked if he thinks Republican Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz should resign from Congress over their Electoral College challenge that became the focus of Wednesday's violence at the Capitol.
"I think the American public has a good clear look at who they are. They're part of the Big Lie," Biden said. "Goebbels [said] in the Great Lie, you keep repeating the lie, repeating the lie."
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"Well there was a print that when Dresden was firebombed, there were 2,500 people that were killed. Goebbels said 250,000 were killed and our papers printed that. It's the Big Lie. It's one thing for one man to repeat it over again," Biden said.
"By the way, Trump said that before he ran. 'If you say it enough, I'm going to convince you. I'll say it enough. The press is bad the press is bad the press is bad the press is bad.'"
"If he's the only one saying it, it's one thing. But the acolytes that follow him are as responsible as he is. It's not about whether or not they get impeached, it's about whether or not they can continue to hold power because of the disgust the American people have for their actions," the president-elect continued. "There are decent people out there who actually believe these lies, because they've heard it again and again."
"This is a human condition, you say it, and say it, and say it, and say it. The degree to which it becomes corrosive is in direct proportion to the number of people who say it," Biden added.
"It's interesting to me, and I was pleased that more prominent Republicans say to me, that the Ted Cruz's of the world are responsible in terms of people believing the lies like Trump, but they didn't say 'go to the capital. I'll be with you. Follow.' That's a different story."
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Hawley harshly reacted to Biden's comments, calling it "undignified, immature, and intemperate" while urging Biden and Democratic members of Congress to disavow the remarks.
Also slamming Biden's remarks, Cruz tweeted that "At a time of deep national division, President-elect Biden’s choice to call his political opponents literal Nazis does nothing to bring us together or promote healing."
Cruz, seen as a potential 2024 presidential candidate, led on Wednesday at least 11 other Republican senators, alongside a majority of the 211 Republicans in the House, in objecting to Electoral College results being formally approved by Congress.
Cruz was bucking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has recognized Biden's victory and urged his fellow Republicans not to pursue the challenges, which appeared to lack the political support they would need to succeed. The Republican maneuvering has created fissures within Trump's party and among outside groups normally supportive of it.
Republican senators, including Josh Hawley and James Lankford, have joined forces with Cruz, while other prominent members of the party, including Senator Mitt Romney and Representative Liz Cheney, opposed it.
On Thursday, Congress approved the Electoral College result, clearing the way for Biden to be sworn in on January 20, 2021.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.