by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
White House press secretary Jen Psaki claimed Friday that President Biden didn’t intend to offend senators by likening them to George Wallace, Bull Connor and Jefferson Davis — but simply meant to compare their actions to those of the infamous white supremacists.
Psaki was pressed at her regular briefing about Biden’s fiery rhetoric at a Tuesday speech in Atlanta, which unsuccessfully sought to convince Democratic senators to set aside the 60-vote legislative filibuster and pass election reforms with a bare majority.
“He is talking about Republicans that don’t agree with voting rights [bills] — he’s describing them as George Wallace, Bull Connor and Jefferson Davis,” said Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy.
“What happened to the guy who, when he was elected, said, ‘To make progress, we must stop treating our opponents as our enemies’?”
“I think everybody listening to that speech — who’s speaking on the level, as my mother would say — would note that he was not comparing them as humans,” Psaki responded.
She added: “He was comparing the choice to those figures in history and where they’re going to position themselves as they determine whether they’re going to support the fundamental right to vote or not.”
Biden’s speech described last year’s Capitol riot as a “coup” attempt and alleged that Republican-led states are passing voting restrictions to reduce participation because of former President Donald Trump’s claims of voter fraud, which were rejected by courts. …
… Biden’s push for the election legislation flopped. On Thursday, Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) reiterated that they won’t support changes to filibuster rules to allow for the bill to pass without Republican support in the evenly divided Senate.
Republicans blasted Biden’s speech, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) variously calling it a “rant,” “incoherent,” and “un-presidential” on the Senate floor Wednesday.