President Biden made an outrageous error on Tuesday when he decided to opine on the pending verdict in the trial of police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd.
‘I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict. Which is — I think it’s overwhelming in my view,’ Biden told reporters. ‘I wouldn’t say that but the jury has been sequestered now and cannot hear me say that.’
Unlike Rep. Maxine Waters, who riled up protesters on Saturday, Biden’s statement came after the jury started deliberations and thus likely cannot be considered tampering. That does not mean it is not still deeply irresponsible.
In the US justice system, it is the jury’s responsibility to determine if someone is ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’ based on their findings of fact in the case. The leader of our nation suggesting otherwise about an ongoing trial is a serious attack on due process. Is our system only just if a jury returns a verdict that Biden thinks is the ‘right’ one? If there is only one correct outcome, why even bother having a trial or a jury?
Biden’s words are especially harmful in context of the already divisive and inflammatory responses to the Chauvin trial. Waters told a crowd of protesters in Minneapolis that they should ‘stay on the streets’, ‘fight for justice’ and get ‘more confrontational’ if the jury returns a ‘not guilty’ verdict. Rioting and looting restarted in the area last week and is sure to reach untenable levels depending on the outcome of the trial. By insisting that there is a correct verdict in the case, regardless of the jury’s decision, Biden gives further permission to agitators to react as they see fit.
The President made sure to note before giving his opinion on the case that the Floyd family believes all protests should remain peaceful. Those are empty words when you are handing excuses to rioters who intend on enacting their own version of justice.
When asked about Biden’s comments during a White House press briefing, press secretary Jen Psaki gaslighted the American people by insisting that Biden wasn’t ‘weighing in on the verdict’.
‘I don’t think he would see it as weighing in on the verdict,’ Psaki said. ‘We’re going to wait for the jury.’
It is too late for that now. Biden has simultaneously undermined the basic tenets of our justice system and, by the Democrats’s own standards, incited a violent mob. He owns whatever happens next.