Following a campaign predicated on returning to American civility, and days after addressing the American public following his Electoral College victory to affirm his message, Joe Biden’s incoming deputy chief of staff gave an interview in which she referred to Republicans as “a bunch of f—ers.”

Jen O’Malley Dillon defended her boss from intra-party criticism from the Democrats, insisting that Republicans in Congress will ultimately agree to work with the incoming president.

“In the primary, people would mock him, like, ‘You think you can work with Republicans?’ I’m not saying they’re not a bunch of f—ers. Mitch McConnell is terrible. But this sense that you couldn’t wish for that, you couldn’t wish for this bipartisan ideal? He rejected that,” O’Malley Dillon said.

She continued by saying that Biden “Set out with this idea that unity was possible, that together we are stronger, that we, as a country, need healing, and our politics needs that too.”

“It is like a relationship. You can’t do politics alone. If the other person is not willing to do the work, then that becomes really hard,” said the incoming White House staffer, who formerly ran Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign. 

Biden as recently as Monday, the day the Electoral College certified the 2020 presidential election to make him president, called for unity.

“The integrity of our elections remains intact,” Biden said. “Now it is time to turn the page, to unite to heal.”

O’Malley Dillon has been criticized online for speaking in such disparaging terms about those with whom she claims Biden will need to have a functional and respectful working relationship.

Axios reported that Biden advisers were frustrated with the interview. The story details accounts of Biden donors demanding an apology from O’Malley Dillon. One Biden official, however, told the outlet that while it would have been preferable for O’Malley Dillon to use “a different adjective … she is authentic, she says it how it is.”

Incoming Biden Press Secretary Kate Bedingfield used social media to defend O’Malley Dillon.

“So @jomalleydillon would be the first to tell you her mom doesn’t approve of the spicy language,” she tweeted. “but I would be the first to tell you that the point she was making in this conversation with @GlennonDoyle is spot on: unity and healing are possible — and we can get things done.”

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