Psaki: Biden Believes Midterms Will Be Legitimate Despite Voting Rights Legislation Being Blocked


White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says President Joe Biden believes the 2022 midterm elections will be legitimate even though Senate Democrats failed to pass voting rights legislation.

During a press conference on Thursday, NBC’s Peter Alexander noted that Biden claimed that “the increase and the prospect of being illegitimate is in direct proportion to us not being able to get these reforms passed.”

He asked, “So yes or no, does the president believe, if all remains as it is right now, that the elections this fall will be legitimate?”

“Yes,” Psaki responded. “But the point he was making is that as recently as 2020, as we know, the former president was trying to work with local officials to overturn the vote count and not have ballots counted.”

She added, “We have to be very eyes wide open about that and clear-eyed that that is the intention, potentially of [former President Donald Trump], and certainly of members of his party.”

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During a press conference on Wednesday, Biden was asked if he believes the 2022 midterms will be legitimate if Senate Democrats failed in their effort to pass voting rights legislation.

“Well, it all depends on whether or not we’ll be able to make the case to the American people that some of this is being set up to try to alter the outcome of the election,” he responded.

Do you think the voting rights legislation should have been passed?

At a later point, he said, “I mean, sure, but I’m not saying it is going to be legit. The increase and the prospect of being illegitimate is in direct proportion to us not being able to get these reforms passed.”

Hours later, Senate Democrats failed in their efforts to pass voting rights legislation.

Vice President Kamala Harris was asked by NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie on Thursday if Biden is “really” concerned that there may not be free and fair elections if voting rights legislation was not passed.

Harris responded by talking about the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act.

However, Guthrie interjected to note that the two bills failed to pass the Senate. She asked, “Does he think, now that these bills haven’t been passed, that the 2022 midterms won’t be legitimate, or fair, or free?”

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“Let’s not conflate issues,” Harris said, adding, “What we are looking at, and the topic of so much debate last night, was that we as America cannot afford to allow this blatant erosion of our democracy. And in particular, the right of all Americans who are eligible to vote to have access to the ballot unfettered. That is the topic of the conversation. And let’s not be distracted by the political gamesmanship.”

Psaki tried to clean up Biden’s comments on Thursday morning, tweeting, “Lets [sic] be clear: [Biden] was not casting doubt on the legitimacy of the 2022 election. He was making the opposite point: In 2020, a record number of voters turned out in the face of a pandemic, and election officials made sure they could vote and have those votes counted.”

“He was explaining that the results would be illegitimate if states do what the former president asked them to do after the 2020 election: toss out ballots and overturn results after the fact. The Big Lie is putting our democracy at risk. We’re fighting to protect it,” she added.

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