Joe Biden must ditch ‘woke advisers’ to fix US economy, Mitt Romney says

Joe Biden must act to reduce mounting economic pressure by ditching “woke advisers”, Mitt Romney said.

The Utah senator and former Republican presidential nominee made the demand in a column for the Wall Street Journal.

“A new set of priorities requires a new set of principals,” Romney wrote. “President Biden needs to ditch his woke advisers and surround himself with people who want to get the economy working again.”

Romney’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about what a “woke adviser” was or who might qualify for the title. The White House did not comment.

As midterm elections approach, the Biden administration faces strong economic headwinds. Inflation is at long-term highs, adding to a cost-of-living crisis fueled by the coronavirus pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

Biden’s favourability rating has plummeted as polling shows disapproval of his handling of economic affairs.

As the Associated Press put it, “hopes for a lasting economic renaissance have faded as Americans cope with higher food and energy costs. And the promise of a country no longer under the pandemic’s sway has been supplanted by the uncertainty of war in Europe.”

Romney is a rare Republican not under Donald Trump’s sway, having been the only GOP senator to vote to convict Trump in both his impeachment trials. Romney has also plotted a middle course on some political issues.

Earlier this month, he was one of three Republicans to vote to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman on the supreme court. Biden compared Romney to his father, the Michigan governor George Romney, who also “stood up and made these decisions on civil rights”.

But in the Journal, Romney came out swinging.

He wrote: “The Biden administration did pretty much everything wrong, injecting $1.9tn into a supply constrained economy, sending out stay-at-home checks, letting tenants live rent-free, squeezing oil and gas production, launching an avalanche of growth-killing regulations, lining up behind unions, and pushing yet another deficit-financed budget.”

Biden “must stop nominating doves to the Fed”, Romney said, demanding “hard-nosed economists” instead. He also demanded Biden drop his Build Back Better spending plan, which aims among other goals to boost social care and combat the climate crisis.

Romney repeated Republican calls for increased domestic oil and gas drilling but also indicated splits in his own party.

The senator called for reform of programmes such as social security and Medicare rather than their end, as outlined in a controversial proposal by Rick Scott of Florida.

Romney also said Biden should “find a way to stop the flood of illegal immigration while accelerating legal immigration”, a less hawkish stance than most in his party.

His call to ditch “woke advisers” came alongside advice ahead of midterms in which Republicans are favoured to retake Congress.

“Remember Bill Clinton’s 1992 mantra,” Romney wrote. “It’s the economy.”

In fact, the phrase associated with Clinton’s victory over George HW Bush, coined by the adviser James Carville, was: “The economy, stupid.

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