White House press secretary Jen Psaki clapped back at Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy on Wednesday during her daily press briefing after he pressed her on why President Joe Biden is supportive of 58 Texas Democrats who fled the state earlier this week to avoid a vote on an election integrity bill.
“Do you know of any examples from [Biden’s] 36 years in the Senate that Joe Biden just hopped on a train and left town to avoid a vote that he knew he was going to lose?” Doocy asked Psaki during the exchange.
“Welcome back,” she began with a chuckle, noting that Biden believes the Texas Democrats “were making a statement through action in opposition to efforts in their state to oppose restrictions on people’s fundamental rights and their rights to vote in their state.”
He “certainly applauds their actions and their outspoken opposition to efforts to put in place restrictive measures in their state,” Psaki added.
Peter Doocy to Psaki on Texas Dems 🔥🔥: “Do you know any examples from his 36 years in the Senate that Joe Biden just hopped on a train and left town to avoid a vote that he knew he was going to lose?” pic.twitter.com/v6Ml15wCbX
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) July 14, 2021
“And maybe it is funny to think about it that way, but the president is talking about this as the most serious assault on democracy,” Doocy responded before Psaki cut him off.
“I don’t think anything about this is funny,” she interjected. “I think what is important to note here is that there are 28 states including Texas where there are laws in place or in process to make it harder to vote.”
According to reports, Doocy asked at another point in the exchange if Biden believes that the best way to prevent an action “that he thinks is bad from happening in Texas is for these lawmakers to be hiding out in a different state, or for them to go back and sit down at the table.”
“The president fundamentally believes you should work together in areas where you can find agreement,” the press secretary replied. “And also that you should be outspoken where you have concerns about affronts to democracy.”
The exchange comes after Vice President Kamala Harris met with the Texas Democrats earlier in the day to offer her support along with the Biden administration. The delegation boarded chartered buses and planes on Monday for the purpose of intentionally denying a quorum in the state House so that majority Republicans, who are pushing to shore up voter integrity ahead of the 2022 elections, would be unable to pass the bill.
“Today, Texas House Democrats stand united in our decision to break quorum and refuse to let the Republican-led legislature force through dangerous legislation that would trample on Texans’ freedom to vote,” Democratic leaders noted in a statement on Monday.
“We are now taking the fight to our nation’s Capitol. We are living on borrowed time in Texas,” the statement continued.
‘Cowards’: Texas Dems caught gloating in private jet with a case of beer as they abscond their duties https://t.co/NhGC8GPC1T
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) July 14, 2021
Texas Republicans have pushed back hard on the Democrats’ false claims that the bill makes it more difficult for minority groups to cast ballots, adding that their measure provides for early and mail-in balloting, but also ensures voter integrity by requiring proof that residents can legally vote.
As for leaving the state, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott railed at the group of Democrats during an interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham earlier this week, vowing to have the lawmakers arrested once they return to the state and have them transported to Austin so they can finish the special session he called.
“Isn’t that the most un-Texan thing you have ever heard? Texans running from a fight?” he told the host. “They are quitters. It’s like during a football game or baseball game taking their equipment when they are way behind and just leaving the field. That is not the way that Texans do things.”
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