President Joe Biden delivered an impassioned speech urging the Senate to pass sweeping voting rights legislation, but some activists groups boycotted the address.
On Wednesday, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough asked why they decided to boycott the speech.
“If you get into church and you’re delivering that hellfire and brimstone sermon, and you turn around and half of your choir’s empty… Half of [Biden’s] choir was empty,” Scarborough said. “Which leads to the second question, where was everybody?”
He continued, “If we are to believe that American democracy is at risk, and if we are to believe this is the fight to end all fights, why wasn’t everybody there?”
Watch the video below:
After Rev. Al said Biden did well preaching to the choir in GA, @JoeNBC asks:
"Half of his choir was empty … Where was everybody? If we are to believe that American democracy is at risk, and if we are to believe this is the fight to end all fights, why wasn't everybody there?" pic.twitter.com/GixAT1xW6F
— The Recount (@therecount) January 12, 2022
During remarks in Atlanta, Georgia, on Tuesday, Biden sought to ramp up pressure on senators to pass voting rights legislation.
“Pass it now,” he said of the Freedom To Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. “I am tired of being quiet.”
He also urged Democrats to make changes to the filibuster, which requires 60 votes to overcome and advance legislation, after Senate Republicans repeatedly used the procedural hurdle to block voting rights legislation last year.
Biden argued that if Republicans again block debate on voting rights legislation, “We have no option but to change the Senate rules, including getting rid of the filibuster for this.”
“I’m making it clear to protect our democracy, I support changing the Senate rules, whichever way they need to be changed to prevent a minority of senators from blocking action on voting rights,” he added.
However, several voting groups activists did not attend the speech, as IJR reported.
James Woodall, former president of the N.A.A.C.P. of Georgia, said, “We do not need any more speeches, we don’t need any more platitudes.”
“We don’t need any more photo ops. We need action, and that actually is in the form of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, as well as the Freedom to Vote Act — and we need that immediately,” he added.
Additionally, Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams cited a scheduling issue as her reason for not attending.
Biden told reporters on Tuesday that he was “insulted” at the idea that Abrams intentionally skipped his speech.
“I spoke to Stacey this morning. We have a great relationship. We got our scheduling mixed up. I talked with her at length this morning. We’re all on the same page. And everything’s fine,” he said.
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