GOP contenders cranking up the racism in attacks on Biden nominees with help from Fox News
Ted Cruz (Screen Grab)

Republican contenders for the 2024 presidential nomination are playing to the Fox News crowd by attacking a pair of President Joe Biden's nominees.

GOP lawmakers are playing to the party's base by smearing Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke, who Biden has tapped for senior positions in the Justice Department, as "extreme" and "radical" -- and Democrats have noticed Republicans and Fox News hosts seem focused on blocking women of color from joining the new administration, reported Politico.

"[The attacks are] essentially part of a smear campaign," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). "[It's] vile and smacks of gender and race bias."

Fox News host Tucker Carlson has focused multiple segments on Clarke, who has been nominated to fill Gupta's previous role in the Civil Rights Division, where she would enforce voting rights -- which the Trump administration basically ignored.

"They represent a far-left radical agenda that's out of step with the American public and certainly with our respective states," said Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), who's widely expected to run for president if Donald Trump does not. "We've got to put that before the voters. That's what we do, and in 2022, voters will have a chance to weigh in and we'll go from there, but we have to make the case for that."

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), another likely GOP hopeful, has described the pair's nominations as a "test" for Democrats who say they're moderates, and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Rick Scott (R-FL) called Gupta a "radical" pick who would undermine police -- but Republicans seem to understand the attacks carry a political risk.

"[Can you] oppose the nomination of a woman or a racial minority on the merits without being racist or sexist?" asked Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), a possible 2024 candidate who challenged Gupta's views on implicit bias.