Psaki claims Biden wasn’t trying to offend Republicans or voting rights critics when he compared them to racists
- Jen Psaki defended Biden’s comments in the vote on Friday
- It came after outrage over the way the president apparently compared opponents of his plan to segregationists and racists
- “He didn’t compare them to humans,” Psaki said in her briefing
- Instead, it was based on whether or not to support fair voting rights
- Opponents said Biden’s Georgia speech was non-presidential and divisive
President Joe Biden made no “human” comparison between opponents of his suffrage and racists and segregationists in a speech this week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday.
Rather, his intention was to compare the actions of those opposed to reform with those of George Wallace and other infamous figures.
The cleanup came after critics accused Biden of divisive rhetoric, and the president has since seen his initiative crumble when two tenacious Democratic senators said they couldn’t support his plan to change Senate rules to pass the legislation.
In a keynote speech on Tuesday in Atlanta, Georgia, he asked if lawmakers “on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace wanted to stand’.
He continued: ‘Do you want to side with John Lewis or Bull Connor?
“Do you want to side with Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?”
During her daily briefing, the White House Press Secretary was asked what happened to the candidate who said it was important not to treat opponents as enemies.
“I think anyone who listens to that speech who speaks at the level, as my mother would say, would notice that he wasn’t comparing them as people, he was comparing choice to those figures in history and where they’re going to position themselves if they determine whether they will support the fundamental right to vote or not,” she said.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked about President Biden’s comments during her regular briefing Friday. She defended them by saying that it was not a comparison as ‘people’
A fervent Biden attacked Donald Trump by name, calling on Republicans to pass “anti-voting laws” in states across the country. And he denounced the January 6 Uprising in the Capitol as a ‘coup d’état’
Wallace was a four-year Democratic governor of Alabama known for his segregationist and populist views.
In his 1963 inaugural address, he declared that he stood for, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”
Connor, another Democrat, was a public safety commissioner in Birmingham, Ala., in the 1960s, ordering police to forcibly disperse civil rights protesters.
And Davis was the first and only Confederate president during the Civil War.
Republicans labeled his speech divisive.
Senate Republican leader McConnell said, “It’s designed to pull our country further apart.”
Speaking on the Senate floor on Wednesday, he said Biden “shouted that if you disagree with him, you’re George Wallace.”
“George Wallace?” he continued. “If you don’t pass the laws he wants, you’re Bull Connor, and if you resist giving the Democrats unlimited one-party control of the country, you’re Jefferson Davis.”
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell tore into President Joe Biden, calling his Atlanta speech “incorrect, incoherent and under his office”
Even some Democratic allies this week questioned the president’s language.
sen. Dick Durbin told CNN, “Maybe the president went a little too far in his rhetoric.
“Some of us do.”
Others shrugged their shoulders at the comments.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she doubted the referral meant much to voters.
“Nobody knows who Bull Connor is,” she said at a news conference.
“You know, when we say, ‘We’re going with Martin Luther King or Bull Connor’ – who is that?”