President Joe Biden thought he scored a major “bazinga” when he first referred to his political opponents as “ultra-MAGA” extremists on May 4, leading even then-White House press secretary Jen Psaki to boast that “it is the President’s phrase,” but in the days since, it has been joyfully hijacked by America First conservatives, and now, reports are out that the label was actually the result of six months of liberal-funded research and focus groups.
“Let me tell you about this ultra MAGA agenda,” Biden said in a speech on the flailing economy. “It’s extreme, as most MAGA things are.”
It was clear that Democrats wanted the “ultra-MAGA” phrase to stick. Biden himself repeated it multiple times over the next few days, even referring to former President Donald Trump as “the great MAGA king.”
Jen Psaki was pressed by reporters who wanted to know who came up with it.
“Why now use this phrase,” asked one journalist.
“I will tell you, it’s the President’s phrase,” Psaki stated. “The President made those comments himself just last week, as you know.”
Psaki: "Ultra-MAGA" is "[Biden's] phrase and the president made those comments himself” pic.twitter.com/F1CSHKEUE7
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) May 10, 2022
But, as The Washington Post reports, it wasn’t quite the “own” the White House was going for.
In the blink of an eye, conservatives latched on to the phrase, with many adding it to their Twitter handles and list of hashtags.
And President Trump, who — politics aside — arguably plays the marketing and branding game better than almost anyone, leaped at the chance to flip Biden’s script.
“The same day, Trump’s Save America super PAC sent out a fundraising email featuring a $45 T-shirt bearing the image of Trump as Superman — a Trump ‘T’ stretched across his chest rather than Superman’s iconic ‘S’ — flying below the banner of ‘SUPERMAGA’ in a red-and-yellow comic book font,” WaPo wrote.
As American Wire News reported, Trump then took to his Truth Social platform and posted a meme of himself as the crowned MAGA King and thanked Biden for the nod.
“The Great MAGA King is the name Joe Biden is now using to describe me,” Trump wrote. “Thank you, Joe. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!”
LMAO😂🤣 President Trump just posted this…'Return of the 'GREAT MAGA KING' pic.twitter.com/LN66EXbR9c
— 🌺🦋Just me👀Cassie🌺🦋🌺 (@browneyegirl400) May 12, 2022
So, clearly, the “ultra-MAGA” moniker backfired BIGLY.
And now that it has, it turns out it wasn’t really Joe Biden’s baby at all — it was the badly thought out brainchild of the liberal group Center for American Progress Action Fund. The six-month research project was, according to WaPo, headed by Anita Dunn, a top Biden aide.
Hart Research and the Global Strategy Group were kicking around insults and “found that ‘MAGA’ was already viewed negatively by voters — more negatively than other phrases like ‘Trump Republican,'” WaPo reported.
In polling battleground states, the group learned that “more than twice as many voters said they would be less likely to vote for someone called a ‘MAGA Republican’ than would be more likely.”
Toss in the perception of extremism, and BAM! “Ultra-MAGA” was, at least in the minds of the Biden administration, born to burn.
But, as Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich pointed out, using “ultra-MAGA” as some sort of slur was always doomed to fail.
“This is something that admits power and influence of the MAGA movement and President Trump’s strength over the party, and for some reason Biden thinks that’s an insult,” he said. “I don’t understand what he’s trying to achieve, especially given that right about now, whether you’re a mother trying to feed your child who needs formula or someone trying to fill up your car, ultra MAGA sounds pretty good.”
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