White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has been mocked for trying to support President Biden’s widely criticized rhetoric that linked political opponents of Democratic-backed voting bills on Capitol Hill with the nation’s most notorious advocate of apartheid.
During Friday’s news conference, Fox News’ Peter Dossey questioned Psaki about Biden’s inflammatory remarks he made in Atlanta attacking those who did not support passing legislation that conservatives saw as a complete liberal reform of how elections were conducted across the country.
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“He spoke about a year ago and worked with Republicans, and now he’s talking about Republicans who don’t agree with voting rights — he describes them as George Wallace, Paul Connor and Jefferson Davis,” Dossey said. “What happened to the man who, when elected, said: To make progress, we must stop treating our opponents as our enemies?”
Psaki replied, “I think that everyone who listens to that speech and speaks on a level, as my mother says, will notice that he was not comparing them as human beings.” “He was comparing the choice with those characters in history and where they would place themselves when deciding whether or not to support the fundamental right to vote.
Critics took to Twitter to criticize the White House’s efforts to retract the president’s speech.
“I hate it when I mistakenly compare my dear friends to George Wallace/Paul Connor/Jeff Davis and my friends instantly express anger and it takes 3 days to explain that I didn’t really mean what I said clearly,” National Review reporter John McCormick wrote sarcastically.
Political commentator Drew Holden criticized the White House: “That’s right, he specifically mentioned all of these humans’ names to avoid making a ‘human’ comparison that is, surely, very plausible.”
Similarly, Washington Examiner reporter Jerry Dunleavy wrote on Twitter: “Joe Biden wasn’t doing a human comparison when he compared humans.”
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“The ridiculous retraction = they saw the ballot,” said former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Monica Crowley.
Daily Wire reporter Ryan Saavedra also noted the poll, writing “33% and drowning,” referring to recent data from Quinnipiac showing the devastating job approval of Biden.
“She’s so bad at this. I love him!” Writer Jim Treacher ousted the press secretary.
“The damage has been done…what a fiasco,” wrote Matt Vespa, Senior Editor at Townhall.com.
Many critics saw Biden’s speech on Tuesday as doing little to advance his election reform agenda. The Atlanta event was politically overshadowed by the absence of Georgia Gov. candidate Stacey Abrams, who Biden suggested he could not attend due to a schedule mix-up. However, Abrams’ absence has been conspicuous since the rising Democratic star has made voting rights the main issue since her first defeat as governor in 2018, which she has not officially recognized.
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The president’s fiery rhetoric may have captured some in his liberal base, but even some senior Democrats have publicly criticized him for overreaching in his attacks.
“The president may have gone a little too far in his speech,” Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill. He said in an interview Wednesday. “Some of us do, but the core principles and values at stake are very similar.”