NBC News White House correspondent Peter Alexander bulldogged White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre over Vice President Kamala Harris vowing at the funeral of Tyre Nichols to pass the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act.
(Video Credit: C-SPAN)
Harris heatedly declared during the high-profile funeral that passing police reform is “non-negotiable.”
“I was, as a senator — as a United States senator — a co-author of the original George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. And as Vice President of the United States, we demand that Congress pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Joe Biden will sign it. And we should not delay, and we will not be denied. It is non-negotiable!” the vice president proclaimed.
During the White House press briefing on Thursday, Alexander cornered Jean-Pierre on the issue and asked her to elaborate on whether the promise precluded accepting any reforms if they differ from the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act as it currently stands.
“If I can ask you about the CBC meeting that’s happening this afternoon, as well. We heard during the Tyre Nichols service yesterday from the vice president who said, of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, that it was, quote, ‘non-negotiable,'” Alexander stated.
(Video Credit: C-SPAN)
“Yesterday in our exchange, you said that the White House was open to supporting something as long as it was done in a bipartisan fashion. So is it non-negotiable that it must be the Justice in Policing Act as it exists? Or is the White House open to something that’s different than that if it’s done in a bipartisan form?” he asked the press secretary.
“Yeah, I think it’s — I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive. I think what she — what — what…” Jean-Pierre stammered.
“Well, one could be different than the Justice in Policing Act…” Alexander put forth.
We need to do whatever it takes to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. We can’t waste another day. Tyre Nichols’ murder is horrifying. And it’s a further injustice to his memory—and every person that’s been impacted by police violence— to wait any longer. pic.twitter.com/GAsU3kBkaO
— Adam Schiff (@AdamSchiff) February 1, 2023
“Well, no, I think…” Jean-Pierre said, continuing to stumble.
“If it’s done in a bipartisan form,” Alexander pressed.
Jean-Pierre finally got it together long enough to provide cover for Harris’ remarks… sort of.
“I think what you saw very passionately from the vice president — and I — I heard that part, I was — I watched her as well. I — what she was trying to say is: We need to get something done. Enough is enough. We need to get this done. We need to get a policy — a police reform that is transformational, that is actually going to bring forth real change. And the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is part of that. It is one step in getting to a place where it is the law of the land,” she blustered.
No @POTUS the answer is not to ghoulishly co-opt the death of Tyre Nichols for the personal political benefit you see in trying to resurrect the anti-police George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Shame on you. Hopefully your inciting allegations below will not result in harm. pic.twitter.com/KH6WbOzrbW
— National Police Association (@NatPoliceAssoc) January 27, 2023
“That’s why the president has said, many times before, we need to take legislative action. We need Congress to act so that we can see change in states and in cities,” she continued, not addressing the fact that it is Congress that takes action on the legislation and that the president cannot unilaterally pass it.
“Right now, as you know — I just laid this out; I’ve laid it out yesterday, I laid it out just now — the president took executive action. But that’s on the federal gov — on the federal level and when you think about law enforcement in the federal level,” Jean-Pierre continued, making no sense whatsoever.
“And so, look, what — what we heard from the vice president was passion. What we heard from the vice president yesterday was meeting the moment and being there for a family that is grieving, a family that had to watch a video of their child being — you know, being brutalized. And so she was there comforting and being passionate about an issue that is incredibly important to the president and, clearly, to her,” she said, somehow indicating the vow was made in the heat of the moment or something.
As Tyre Nichols’ family and community grieve, it is clear that his killing is a moral stain and yet another urgent reminder of all that must change in America. It is well past time for much-needed reform, including for Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) February 1, 2023
Alexander wasn’t budging without an answer, but he was doomed to disappointment when it comes to Jean-Pierre.
“I want to let others go, but just to be very clear: So, it — is it negotiable that there is something that achieves police reform if it does not come in the form of the Justice in Policing Act?” he asked the White House spokesperson.
“So, what I can say is: The president — the president supported the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act last session. He supports it now, again. Right? He was very clear when he spoke to Tyre Nichols’s family — his mother and his stepdad. He said that he was going to do everything that he can to encourage and ask Congress to act. That still stays the same,” Jean-Pierre said, giving a trademark non-answer.
Ben Crump announces at Tyre Nichols’ funeral that Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee intends to re-introduce to Congress a new version of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act that includes the Tyre Nichols Duty to Intervene Act
— Wesley (@WesleyLowery) February 1, 2023
“Now, he’s meeting with Congressional Black Caucus to see what can we do, how do we move forward. Sometimes — and this is a reality; we know how Congress works. Right? Sometimes it’s going to look different. And so that is okay — right? — if it’s going to look different,” she continued. “But what we know — what we know that has been introduced in the past that is clearly available to us is the George Floyd and — Justice in Policing Act.”
“So, of course, we’re going to continue to call — call for that. But, you know, there’s going to be conversations, and we’ll see where those conversations go,” she said concluding her rambling, non-confrontation of Alexander’s question.
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