President Joe Biden shouted at reporters about “election subversion” and state laws that changed who counted the votes in a bizarre exchange Thursday afternoon on Capitol Hill.
Biden spoke briefly with reporters after making an appearance at the Senate Democrats’ lunch — where he was expected to call for a Senate rule change. That change would allow a carve-out in the Senate filibuster that would clear the way for his party’s sweeping federal election overhaul — but Biden arrived at the lunch just after Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) announced on the Senate floor that she would join her colleague Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) in refusing to support changes to the filibuster.
Biden, appearing to admit defeat on ending the filibuster & nationalizing elections, randomly starts shouting: States’ voter reform laws are “about who gets to count the votes! Count the vote! Count the vote!” pic.twitter.com/66LpGL1ckQ
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) January 13, 2022
“You all ask questions about complicated subjects like ‘can you get this done,'” Biden removed his face mask as he approached reporters. “I hope we can get this done. The honest-to-God answer is I don’t know whether we can get this done. Is this mic on? I guess — anyway — I’m not sure — anyway, I hope we can get this done, but I’m not sure.”
“But one thing for certain, one thing for certain, like every other major Civil Rights bill that came along,” Biden continued, “If we miss the first time, we can come back and try the second time. We missed this time. We missed this time.”
Biden then pivoted to attack the state legislatures, his voice rising until he was practically shouting as he added, “The state legislative bodies continue to change the law, not as to who can vote, but who gets to count the vote. Count the vote! Count the vote! It’s about election subversion! Not just whether or not people get to vote!”
“Who counts the vote!” he said again. “That’s what this is about, that’s what makes this so different than anything else we’ve ever done.”
“I don’t know that we can get it done, but I know one thing,” Biden continued, his voice calmer. “As long as I have a breath in me, as long as I’m in the White House, as long as I’m engaged at all, I’m going to be fighting to change the way these legislatures have moving [sic], thank you.”
With that, the president turned and walked away.
In addition to the news that Sinema would not support a filibuster carve-out — which effectively killed the Democrats’ plan to overhaul elections — the Biden administration was dealt another blow when the Supreme Court blocked Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for corporations with 100 or more employees. However, the court did uphold the president’s order mandating COVID-19 vaccines for health care workers in facilities that received federal funding.
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