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Psaki Pushes Back At Progressive Criticism Of Biden: ‘Those Words Are A Fight Against The Wrong Opponent’
Press Secretary Jen Psaki Holds Daily Briefing At The White House WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 22: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds a press briefing at the White House on June 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. Psaki spoke on the voting reform bill and emergency preparedness for the upcoming hurricane season. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images) Kevin Dietsch / Staff via Getty Images
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images Kevin Dietsch / Staff via Getty Images

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki responded to liberal criticism of President Joe Biden over his inaction on the partisan voting rights legislation heading to the Senate. 

During a Tuesday press conference, in a reference to Biden’s campaign messaging, a reporter asked Psaki what the administration thinks is more important for the nation’s soul: “upholding the tradition of the filibuster” or getting through the voting rights agenda. 

Psaki said they “don’t see it through that prism,” adding that Biden believes that “expanding access to voting, making it easier for people to vote, should be a fundamental right for the American public across the country and it will be a fight of his presidency long past today.” She went on to describe actions that Biden has taken throughout his career to advocate for voting rights. 

Psaki was asked repeatedly about the voting rights bill, including why Biden has not spoken about it on the day when there is a vote on the legislation. She said Biden has spoken about his commitment to expanding access to voting rights “a number of times,” adding that a statement would be released following the vote. 

She was asked about Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) speaking out against Biden earlier Tuesday, saying the president “needs to be a lot more vocal and a lot more out front.”

“I would suggest … those words are a fight against the wrong opponent,” said Psaki.

“The president is passionate about this issue. He has been passionate through the course of his time in public office. Again, securing a 25-year extension of the Voting Rights Act when, I would note, Strom Thurmond chaired the committee … He’s absolutely revolted by the wave of anti-voter laws based on the same repeatedly disproven lies that led to an assault on our nation’s capital,” she went on. 

Even though Biden has advanced a more radical agenda than many expected out of his campaign, his perceived silence on the voting rights bill might be enough for the more liberal members of his party to turn against him. 

Bowman is not alone in calls for Biden to take action. As reported by Politico, Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY) tweeted Monday, “Our democracy is in crisis and we need @POTUS to act like it.”

In the past, Biden has vocally denounced voter laws in certain states, spreading inaccurate information about them, but some members of his party seem to be getting tired of his lack of discussion surrounding the current federal legislation. 

As The Daily Wire reported in April, “Biden endorsed moving Major League Baseball’s July All-Star game out of Georgia in retaliation for Georgia’s new election laws.”

“I think today’s professional athletes are acting incredibly responsibly. I would strongly support them [moving the all-star game out of Atlanta],” Biden told ESPN’s Sage Steele. “People look to them. They’re leaders.” 

“Look at what’s happened with the NBA, as well. Look what’s happened across the board. The very people who are victimized the most are the people who are the leaders in these various sports, and it’s just not right,” Biden continued. “This is Jim Crow on steroids what they’re doing in Georgia and 40 other states.” 

“The president then went on to repeat false claims that the new law prohibited food and drink at polling places and mandated the polls close at 5 p.m.,” The Daily Wire noted. 

“Imagine passing a law saying you cannot provide water or food for someone standing in line to vote? Can’t do that? Come on,” Biden said. “Or you’re going to close a polling place at five o’clock when working people just get off? This is all about keeping working folks and ordinary folks that I grew up with from being able to vote.”

A previous version of this article imprecisely summarized a reporter’s question to Jen Psaki. The reporter asked about the importance of “upholding the tradition of the filibuster,” not getting rid of the filibuster. 

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