Yes, they had capitulated in disastrous ways to Donald Trump, but with Trump defeated, that fever would break, he argued.
There is no question that Biden miscalculated — and badly — when it came to Trump and the Republican Party.
Which, um, has not happened. If anything, Trump appears to have strengthened his grip on the Republican Party since leaving office.
How? In large part due to his repeated (and still false!) assertion that the 2020 election was stolen from him — and his work to make believing those election lies a litmus test for being a “real” Republican (as opposed to a “Republican In Name Only”).
While there was some sense in the immediate aftermath of the January 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol that Republicans might finally — and formally — break from Trump, the base of the party never wavered, which led the likes of Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell to retreat from their criticisms of Trump.
That cowering further emboldened Trump to make even more outlandish claims about the election. And his base went right along with him.
The Point: Biden thought that the Trump wing of the Republican Party would wither after the 2020 election. Instead, the Trump wing has become the Republican Party.