Members of the White House press corps repeatedly asked White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday to define exactly what President Joe Biden meant when he said “the vast majority” of law enforcement are “decent, honorable people.”
Fox News reporter Kristen Fisher first brought up the topic, asking Psaki what Biden meant specifically by “vast majority.”
“That’s exactly what he meant,” Psaki replied simply, moving on to the next question.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) February 3, 2021
NBC News reporter Kristen Welker later brought up the comments again, asking why Biden felt it necessary to emphasize that most law enforcement are good people.
Welker’s questions prompted a more thorough response from Psaki, who said, “Because I think he believes that the men and women who have been serving our country in a variety of capacities have been criticized. Some have been threatened. The roles they’re playing have been questioned over the last several years, and he wanted to reiterate his support for the important work they do. It’s also why he’s visiting the State Department tomorrow.”
Welker replied by making sure that by “vast majority,” Biden did not mean all law enforcement.
“I think the point he’s making,” Psaki added, “is that despite reports of individuals in different areas who may have done things that are problematic, that the vast majority of men and women serving in our law enforcement roles, serving in civil service roles, serving in roles across government, do vital and essential work for the American people.”
NBC's Kristen Welker presses Jen Psaki on….why Biden would dare to reiterate on Tuesday while talking about the deadly shooting of FBI agents that the "vast majority" of law enforcement officials are "decent, honorable people?" pic.twitter.com/wNwNgs34dA
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) February 3, 2021
Biden made his remarks during a Tuesday press briefing in the Oval Office while expressing condolences to the families of the FBI agents who were injured or killed while attempting to serve a warrant in Florida.
Biden said in part:
Well, let me begin by saying, from all three of us — the vice president, the new secretary of homeland security — that our hearts go out to the families of these FBI special agents, and — two of whom were killed and three of whom were injured today in Florida.
I was briefed on this tragedy earlier today, and I know the FBI is gathering information about how this happened, what happened. But I can only imagine how these families are feeling today.
You know, one of the things, when you are in a combat zone of the military or you’re a FBI agent, or military or a police officer, every family just — when they put that shield on and go out in the morning — dreads the possibility of a call — receiving that phone call. And my heart aches for the families. I’ve not had an opportunity, nor will I try today, to contact them.
But they put their lives on the line, and it’s a hell of a price to pay. And every single day, every single one of these folks get up and they — by and large, the vast, vast majority of these men and women are decent, honorable people who put themselves on the line, and we owe them.