Politics

Jen Psaki claps back at evangelical reporter whining about Biden’s lack of “unity”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki
White House Press Secretary Jen PsakiPhoto: Screenshot

When a Christian conservative journalist tried to attack President Joe Biden for not making enough ostentatious shows of “unity” with Republicans, White House Press Secretary gave him a smackdown that he won’t soon forget.

David Brody works for the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), the network founded by televangelist Pat Robertson where he regularly says that God will destroy America for giving LGBTQ people rights, prays for Jesus to “intervene” in elections so that Republicans win, and hawks supplement shakes to his credulous audience.

Related: Jen Psaki shuts down Fox News’ transphobic question with “Trans rights are human rights”

But for Brody, it’s Biden who’s the extreme partisan.

Biden “has not met with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA),” Brody said. “What does that say about unity?”

He specifically mentioned H.R. 1, the For The People Act, which would protect voting rights and create new ethics rules for elected officials.

“There are a lot of folks – you talked about tens of millions of people – they’re concerned about that this doesn’t seem like unity at all,” he said.

“Do you think tens of millions of people are concerned about [Biden] not meeting with Kevin McCarthy?” Psaki quipped, chuckling.

“No, I think tens of millions of people are concerned about H.R. 1, the budget reconciliation… going with that 50-vote threshold,” he said, referring to how the Senate is divided 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, and most laws need 60 votes to pass. Most Republican senators are refusing to vote for any legislation supported by Biden.

“I’m not sure the polling bears that out,” Psaki replied. “But I will say that the president’s view is that bringing the country together is bringing the American people together.”

“So when I say he is focused on bringing people together, bringing Democrats and Republicans together, he’s not talking about solving bipartisanship in this zip code here,” she continued, referring to Congress.

She’s right about the polling, which has shown that two-thirds of Americans support the For The People Act, including a majority of Republicans.

Current Senate rules require 60 senators to vote to end a debate in order to vote on a bill itself, which is blocking most major legislation at the moment. This includes the Equality Act, which would extend federal anti-discrimination protections to include LGBTQ people and is supported by the vast majority of Americans.

Since that rule was created by the Senate itself, all it needs is a majority to end it. All 50 Democrats with Vice President Kamala Harris as a tie-breaker could vote to end the 60-vote requirement and the Senate would revert to majority rule.

That’s not likely to happen, as several Democratic senators oppose removing the 60-vote requirement, like Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Joe Manchin (D-WV). But the possibility that it could happen is being used by conservative media to attack Congressional Democrats and the White House as opposing “unity,” which for them means only passing legislation that Republicans approve of.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly listed Sen. Joe Manchin as being from Virginia. “We’ve been a separate state since 1863,” an observant reader told LGBTQ Nation via email. We regret the error.

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