Vice President Kamala Harris appeared to take a page from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s book when she said that the Democrats’ two election overhaul bills needed to be passed before she was willing to have a conversation about future election legitimacy.
CNN Congressional reporter Ali Zaslav tweeted, “Asked by @mkraju if the elections would be illegitimate if these voting bills don’t pass. Vice President Harris replied: ‘Let’s get these bills passed before we have that conversation.'”
Asked by @mkraju if the elections would be illegitimate if these voting bills don’t pass
Vice President Harris replied: “Let’s get these bills passed before we have that conversation.” pic.twitter.com/Rlml6vXY70
— Ali Zaslav (@alizaslav) January 20, 2022
Her answer evoked the memory of Pelosi’s Obamacare assessment: “Congress has to pass the bill so that you can see what’s in it”
The question to Harris, Posed by Zaslav’s CNN colleague Manu Raju, was in response to President Joe Biden’s suggestion that future elections would not be legitimate if the Democrats’ proposed overhauls — in both the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act — failed to pass.
“Oh, yeah, I think it could easily be illegitimate … The increase in the prospect of being illegitimate is in proportion to not being able to get these reforms passed,” Biden said during his Wednesday press conference.
This second attempt from Biden on whether the election will be legit is even worse.
“Oh, yeah, I think it could easily be illegitimate … The increase in the prospect of being illegitimate is in proportion to not being able to get these reforms passed.” pic.twitter.com/nCyuAWSMXm
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) January 19, 2022
Since the press conference, White House press secretary Jen Psaki has been working to clean up Biden’s comments — particularly with regard to the legitimacy of upcoming elections. In addition to putting out a series of tweets explaining the president’s position, Psaki joined Fox News anchors Dana Perino and Bill Hemmer on “America’s Newsroom.”
“Last night those reforms failed. So I’m curious if you’ll continue to say the 2022 elections will be illegitimate?” Perino asked.
“First, I talked to the president a lot about this and he is not predicting that the 2022 elections would be illegitimate,” Psaki objected, saying that Biden had been attempting to make the point that even in the face of “efforts to suppress the vote” — which she gave no evidence to support — 2020 had still seen record turnout from both parties.
“The point he was making is that the former president asked a number of states, seven or more in fact, to overturn the outcome of the election. Now obviously if there is an effort to do that we have to fight against it,” Psaki continued. “That’s what our commitment is to doing, but he was not making a prediction. He has confidence in the American people and we are going to do everything we can to protect people’s rights.”
“He mentioned the minority vote. He was pretty brash about it. And you’re right, we had the largest turnout we’ve seen in 120 years on a percentage bases. And states are changing their own laws as we speak. Joe Biden has lived in Delaware for 70 years and they have early voting for the first time this coming November in 2022,” Hemmer pushed back.
“It should be a baseline. Everybody should have access to early voting,” Psaki insisted. “If you are a parent of two kids or three kids. I have two, some people have three, four, or more, it is challenging. You should have more places you can drop off your ballot, more place you can early vote. That should be a baseline everywhere across the country.”
“We know voter suppression impacts minority communities the most,” Psaki added. “Part of what the John Lewis Voting Rights Act is trying to do is make it harder for states with a history of that to change their laws to make it even more difficult. They have to get it from the Department of Justice. We think that’s entirely reasonable. A lot of Republicans in the past — 16 who are still in the Senate today — supported the protection of voting rights in the past. His question is why wouldn’t it be a bipartisan effort?”