President Joe Biden on Tuesday commented on the trial of Derek Chauvin, saying the jury needs to reach the “right” verdict.
“The evidence is overwhelming,” he said.
However, his press secretary insisted he wasn’t really weighing in on the case.
Jen Psaki was asked why Biden, since he has talked about the importance of an independent judiciary, would comment while the jury is deliberating.
She replied, “I don’t think he would see it as weighing in on the verdict.”
To which the reporter responded, “He did call for the ‘right verdict,’ though.”
Q: @JoeBiden has talked about the importance of an independent judiciary, why is it appropriate for him to weigh in on the Chauvin verdict?@PressSec: “I don’t think he would see it as weighing in on the verdict…”
Reporter: “He did call for the ‘right verdict,’ though.” pic.twitter.com/iyjJO8RRTJ
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) April 20, 2021
The president said Tuesday: “I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict. Which is – I think it’s overwhelming in my view.”
Biden said he wouldn’t have commented except for the fact that “the jury was sequestered now.”
Psaki denied that Biden was seeking a particular verdict.
“He was conveying what many people are feeling across the country, which is compassion for the family,” she said.
After the verdict, she said, the president likely will have more to say.
“I expect that he will weigh in more, further, once there is a verdict and I’m not going to provide additional analysis on what he meant,” Psaki said.
She said Biden has followed the trial closely and called George Floyd’s brother, Philonise, on Monday.
The president’s comments came amid controversy over Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters’ call for Chauvin to be found guilty and for Black Lives Matter protesters to be “more confrontational.”
Asked Monday about Waters’ remarks, Psaki said the congresswoman “has provided further clarification of her own remarks and I would certainly point you to that.”
Psaki also said Biden wants “peace” after the trial verdict.
“He also understands this is an extremely painful moment for many people in this country who are exhausted, who are tired of seeing one person after another lose their life at the hands of law enforcement. He’s aware of that and the need for reform,” she said.
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