White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki neglected to answer important questions Wednesday during a line of questioning by the New York Post. Psaki cut off the reporter when pressed about President Joe Biden and claims that he is guilty of feeding into systemic racism in the United States.
“It can’t stop here,” Biden declared in a speech Tuesday. In order to deliver real change and reform, we can and we must do more to reduce the likelihood that tragedies like this will ever happen again.”
Present Biden was talking about the conviction of George Floyd’s killer, Derek Chauvin. A Minneapolis jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for Floyd’s death last year.
Biden called it a “murder in the full light of day” and express that it “ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see systemic racism.”
Those words resounded with the people of the nation, but many were held back from fully supporting the President’s comments due to his complicated history.
The Post confronted Psaki at her daily press briefing Wednesday, inquiring about Biden’s role in establishing federal laws in the 1980s and ’90s that disproportionately jailed minorities.
Psaki took the question head-on, but the answer may have gone astray. “Well, I would say that the president’s — one of the president’s core objectives is addressing racial injustice in this country, not just through his rhetoric, but through his actions,” Psaki said.
“And what anyone should look to is his advocacy for passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act,” she continued. She went to say that Biden is “nominating leaders to the Department of Justice to address long-outdated policies and to ask his leadership team here in the White House to prioritize these issues in his presidency, which is current and today and not from 30 years ago.”
However, when pressed further by The Post, Psaki deflected and moved on to another question. “It’s important [for Biden] to accept his own culpability for setting up the system,” The Post’s reported pushed.
“I think I’ve answered your question,” Psaki strategically replied, moving on to another reporter.
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act referenced by Psaki was approved by the Democratic-led House in March but has not been voted on in the Senate. Ten Republicans would be needed for the bill’s passage because of the chamber’s 60-vote filibuster rule.
“George Floyd was murdered almost a year ago,” Biden said in remarks Tuesday night at the White House, according to NBC News. “It shouldn’t take a whole year to get this done.”
If passed, the bill will end certain police techniques, such as chokeholds and carotid holds like the one Derek Chauvin used to kill George Floyd.
Those practices, though currently allowed by many police forces, would be banned at the federal level. The bill would also provide funding to local and state police agencies that outlaw those practices as well.
The bill will also improve police training and invest in community programs that would work to improve policing and promote equitable policies.
Though Biden is a proponent for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and has been outspoken about ongoing racism in the United States, the President has a complicated history with race relations.
Biden authored the 1994 crime law that imposed a mandatory sentence of life without parole for individuals facing a third serious drug conviction. The law sent some people to prison for life for marijuana dealing, according to the New York Post.
The President was also an advocate of tough-on-crime legislation but recanted his stance prior to the 2020 elections. Biden denied that his bills led to mass incarceration, especially of minority groups.
Psaki has come to Biden’s defense on numerous occasions. While speaking about his advocacy of the George Floyd bill, Psaki said that Biden’s “view is that the conversation right now should be focused on reconciliation, so we focus on finding a bipartisan path forward.”
“This is going to be a discussion. And a lot of the conversations right now, as you know from covering this, are happening between Democrats like Sen. Cory Booker and like Sen. Tim Scott. And they’re going to have to decide where they can find agreement moving forward,” Psaki admitted.
Psaki did not make any move today to respond to the statement made by The Post’s reporter.