On Day 91, the White House deals freely in race-based rhetoric—until the questions turn to Biden’s own background.
200 Million Coronavirus Vaccines Administered.
The United States has passed the 200 million Coronavirus vaccinations mark, which was President Joe Biden’s updated pledge as of March 25 after initially underselling U.S. capabilities by 100 million.
Supply of shots will soon outpace demand, and the Biden White House is looking for ways to urge more Americans to get the jab. In remarks Wednesday, Biden previewed a program to extend additional tax credits to companies who give their employees time off to get the vaccine and recover from side effects.
“I’m calling on every employer, large and small, in every state, to give employees the time off they need, with pay, to get vaccinated and any time they need, with pay, to recover if they are feeling under the weather after the shot,” Biden said. “No working American should lose a single dollar from their paycheck because they chose to fulfill their patriotic duty of getting vaccinated.”
White House Entertains Racism Rhetoric—As Long As It’s Not About Biden.
Psaki referred to the incident as “police violence” and linking the event to “systemic racism” and “implicit bias.” The officer involved in the shooting has been targeted and threatened on Twitter, despite having saved the life of Bryant’s would-be victim.
“The killing of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant by the Columbus Police is tragic. She was a child,” Psaki said. “We know that police violence disproportionately impacts Black and Latino people in communities, and that Black women and girls, like Black men and boys, experience higher rates of police violence.”
“We also know that there are particular vulnerabilities that children in foster care, like Ma’Khia, face. And her death came, as you noted, just as America was hopeful of a step forward after the traumatic and exhausting trial of Derek Chauvin and the verdict that was reached. So our focus is on working to address systemic racism and implicit bias head on and, of course, to passing laws and legislation that will put much-needed reforms into place at police departments around the country.”
It is not evident that race or police misconduct were factors in Bryant’s death, but that did not stop the Biden White House from applying racialized and accusatory rhetoric in its statement on the incident.
However, Psaki took less kindly to the topic when a reporter asked to what extent Biden “acknowledge[s] his own role in systemic racism,” calling the president “an architect of multiple federal laws in the 1980s and ’90s that disproportionately jailed black people and contributed to what many people see as systemic racism.”
“One of the President’s core objectives is addressing racial injustice in this country not just through his rhetoric, but through his actions. And what anyone should look to is his advocacy for passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, for nominating leaders to the Department of Justice to address long-outdated policies, and to ask his team—leadership team here in the White House to prioritize these issues in his presidency, which is current and today and not from 30 years ago.”
When the reporter tried to ask again about whether Biden accepts his own culpability, Psaki cut the question off.