The Recount shared a clip of the “awkward” moment from Friday’s briefing when CBS News’ Weijia Jiang said, “There must be some state laws that the president also disagrees with that have to deal with crime and he obviously doesn’t have the power to do anything about that.”
“I’m trying to square his decision to use his power to do something in D.C., while he’s also saying the federal government should allow them to be their own state,” she added.
Jean-Pierre said, “Because D.C.’s not a state.”
“So, he can and therefore he should?” Jiang asked.
The press secretary explained, “D.C.’s not a state, so therefore the bill is coming to his desk. So he has to make a decision. It’s as simple as that, Weija, right? Because D.C. is not a state.”
“He wants D.C. to become a state, we’ve been very clear about that, he has said that for decades,” she continued. “But it’s not [a state]. And so, therefore, because D.C., is not a state, when bills like this occur, it goes to the president and he has to make a decision.”
Watch the video below:
WH Press Sec. Karine Jean-Pierre gets into an awkward extended exchange with a reporter while defending President Biden’s decision to sign a resolution repealing D.C.’s criminal code reforms:
“D.C. is not a state … He wants D.C. to become a state … but it’s not.” pic.twitter.com/kZoJFLvQB7
— The Recount (@therecount) March 3, 2023
Jean-Pierre added Biden believes if the nation’s capital were to become a state, it should be able to govern on its own.
“But until then, they shouldn’t?” Jiang asked as she noted Biden could veto the legislation in Congress.
Jean-Pierre responded, “Weijia, D.C., is not a state … This is a president that believes in keeping communities safe. He believes in keeping the 700,000 residents in D.C., safe. And so he’s taking that action because it’s coming to him … This is not our legislation.”
On Thursday, the president revealed if the Senate passes a bill to overturn a new crime law in Washington, D.C., he would not veto it.
He tweeted, “I support D.C. Statehood and home-rule – but I don’t support some of the changes D.C. Council put forward over the Mayor’s objections – such as lowering penalties for carjackings. If the Senate votes to overturn what D.C. Council did – I’ll sign it.”
I support D.C. Statehood and home-rule – but I don’t support some of the changes D.C. Council put forward over the Mayor’s objections – such as lowering penalties for carjackings.
If the Senate votes to overturn what D.C. Council did – I’ll sign it.
— President Biden (@POTUS) March 2, 2023
The city’s crime law was initially vetoed by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D). However, the city council overrode her veto.
It would reduce the maximum criminal penalties for violent crimes, and expand the right to jury trials for certain misdemeanors.
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