President Biden stated on Tuesday that he is “praying” for the “right verdict” in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin over the death of George Floyd as the jury conducts its final deliberations before rendering a verdict in the case.
It is highly unusual for a sitting president to insert themselves into a case such as this just before a verdict is decided upon. Biden says that he waited until the jury had been sequestered before making his statements public. His remarks still carry the possibility of swaying the jury if they happen to hear about them somehow. Some believe his words could also possibly be used to call for a mistrial just as Rep. Maxine Waters incitement at a protest rally over the weekend could be.
“I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict, which is — I think it’s overwhelming, in my view,” Biden told reporters at a meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus during a press briefing in the Oval Office. “I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now, not hearing me say that.”
Biden also referenced a call he made to the Floyd family on Monday after closing arguments were made in the case and the jury began its deliberations: “I can only imagine the pressure and anxiety they’re feeling. And so I waited until the jury was sequestered, and I called. And I wasn’t going to say anything about it.”
WATCH: Joe Biden tries to sway jurors to convict Derek Chauvin. pic.twitter.com/Mmj9xv08ip
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) April 20, 2021
“They’re a good family,” he remarked. “And they’re calling for peace and tranquility, no matter what that verdict is.”
George Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, said on Tuesday that Biden had called his family.
“He knows how it is to lose a family member, and he knows the process of what we’re going through,” Floyd said on NBC’s “Today” show. “So he was just letting us know that he was praying for us and hoping that everything will come out to be OK.”
This all played out while CBS provided details on the jurors who are now deciding Chauvin’s fate.
Sean Davis, who is the co-founder of The Federalist, nailed CBS for targeting the jurors in a blatant attempt to influence their verdict: “Media are deliberately putting targets on the backs of jurors if they don’t vote the way the corrupt media wants them to vote.”
.@jamieyuccas reports on the makeup of the 14 jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial. At least one of them lives in Brooklyn Center, where Daunte Wright was fatally shot by police last week. https://t.co/QAcai1sXgl pic.twitter.com/CC3QNMjnDn
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 19, 2021
Chauvin is facing three charges including second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. The most serious charge could get him 40 years in prison.
The National Guard has been deployed in case of rioting pending the verdict in the case.
The White House weighed in on the potential for unrest: “Our objective is to ensure there is a space for peaceful protest, that we continue to convey that while this country has gone through an extensive period, especially the Black community, of pain, trauma, and exhaustion as we have watched not just the trial but of course additional violence against their community over the past several weeks, it’s important to acknowledge that and elevate that at every opportunity we have,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki noted at a briefing Monday afternoon.
“We will continue to encourage peaceful protest but we’re not going to get ahead of the verdict in the trial,” she stated. That was presumably before President Biden spoke with the family and made his comments regarding the case.
Political commentator Varad Mehta stated on Twitter: “If I’m Chauvin’s attorney, I’m already making another motion for a mistrial.”
Others also had a say on social media:
Joe Biden says he is "praying the verdict is the right verdict" in the Derek Chauvin murder trial. He says "the evidence is overwhelming"
Between the most powerful man in the world & Maxine Waters, Derek Chauvin is guaranteed to not get a fair verdict.
Democrats hate justice.
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) April 20, 2021
Joe Biden is “praying for the right verdict” in the Derek Chauvin trial.
“The evidence is overwhelming.”
This case has been highly comprised and I doubt Chauvin will get a fair verdict.
This has mistrial written all over it.
— Ryan Fournier (@RyanAFournier) April 20, 2021
If Derek Chauvin is acquitted, prepare for the worst riots in United States history.
Biden's response to these riots will show how weak and frail he really is.
— Ryan Fournier (@RyanAFournier) April 19, 2021
Biden is now putting his finger on the scale of justice in the Chauvin case.
That’s beyond inappropriate.
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) April 20, 2021
Whatever is Biden, the American President, doing contacting the Floyd family and publicly announcing that he thinks the "evidence is overwhelming" before the jury has reached a verdict in the Chauvin trial?
Whatever happened to innocent until found guilty?
— Veritatem 2021: truth isn't a popularity contest (@Veritatem2021) April 20, 2021
- ‘We’re dreaming of a #Blackxmas’: BLM calls for month-long Christmas boycott of ‘white companies’ - December 1, 2021
- CNN’s Brian Stelter: Cuomo’s ‘indefinite’ suspension may only be ‘several’ weeks – in effect, a Christmas vacation - December 1, 2021
- NYT, CNN, other major media outlets back Bannon’s bid to unseal docs in contempt of Congress case - December 1, 2021