President Biden won’t ‘weigh in’ on the Senate’s impeachment trial of Donald Trump

Biden Departs the White House for Wilmington, DE

Donald Trump’s impeachment trial begins this week. Now that Democrats have a razor thin majority in the Senate, one would imagine this trial will be handled very differently than Trump’s first impeachment trial. It’s even being said that Mitch McConnell is very quietly whipping votes to convict Trump, or at the very least, trying to give Republicans the room to vote their conscience. Another thing that’s very different: the sitting president won’t be using his bully pulpit to interfere in the impeachment proceedings. Probably because the sitting president has better things to do than sit around, watching Fox News and guzzling Diet Coke and cheeseburgers.

Washington may be consumed by Donald Trump’s impeachment trial this week, but the White House has a decidedly different view of it: Impeachment? What impeachment? The Biden team has shut down question after question about where Biden stands on this week’s trial, even with its massive historical, constitutional and political ramifications. On Monday, press secretary Jen Psaki wouldn’t even say whether the president would receive daily updates on the trial’s progress. It’s a remarkable bit of messaging discipline driven by a simple political calculation. Biden’s presidency rests on whether he can drive down Covid numbers, reopen the economy and get kids back in schools. He needs his Covid relief package to do that, not the banishment of his predecessor from future public office.

“[It] just makes no sense for Biden to weigh in on the impeachment,” said one source familiar with the White House’s thinking. “He’s already said that he thought [there] were grounds for impeachment but he has to stay focused on helping people in this crisis.”

Several other people familiar with the White House’s thinking say the Biden team sees no upside in Biden weighing in on impeachment, either. His remarks would surely not move votes on the Republican side, they say. Even the slightest comment about Trump at a press briefing would blot out anything else they do that day. Talking Trump would also signal to Americans that Biden is already tilting toward politics instead of figuring out how to get shots in people’s arms.

Still, Biden’s public shoulder shrug to the impeachment trial is a notable contrast to Senate Democrats, who contend that the trial is essential to holding Trump accountable for inciting the deadly Jan. 6 riot in the Capitol. One Democratic senator has told POLITICO the trial was essential to publicly airing Trump’s “really heinous criminal wrongdoing and criminal intent.”

But when Psaki was pressed on Monday about how Biden would approach the proceedings, she sidestepped or deflected, saying it was a matter for Congress to handle. At one point, she said Biden didn’t have anything new to say because he was no longer in the Senate, where the trial will be held starting Tuesday.

“He will not spend much time watching the proceedings — if any time — over the course of this week,” Psaki said. “He will leave the pace, and the process and the mechanics of the impeachment proceedings up to members of Congress.”

[From Politico]

This line made me laugh: “Still, Biden’s public shoulder shrug to the impeachment trial is a notable contrast to Senate Democrats…” The Trump presidency broke a lot of brains, and now it’s considered noteworthy to say that the executive office isn’t going to interfere with a Senate issue. It would be more noteworthy if Biden DID try to interfere with the Senate trial. That being said, of course Biden will pay attention to what’s happening in the trial. I bet this has made him miss his Senate days, where he spent decades of his life.

Biden Visits the Department of State

Biden Visits the Department of State

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

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14 Responses to “President Biden won’t ‘weigh in’ on the Senate’s impeachment trial of Donald Trump”

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  1. LightPurple says:

    Can we stop pretending that any Republican members of the Senate have a conscience? They don’t. They have shown us who they are. Far too many of them are too busy presenting Trump’s case for him to do their own job of listening to and evaluating evidence.

    • Joan Rivers says:

      Yes. But Biden has been decisive and quick and strong, despite the corny nicknames for him from them.
      He talks fast, answers fast, has a strategy for what he wants to do, and has hired impressive staff. I keep waiting for a slipup or gaffe, that would be normal, but they’ve been smooth and professional.

      Jen Psaki’s sass really gets to the righties, it’s funny how much she rankles them.

      So it’s the GOP that’s divided and confused and I think they’ll be the ones who look back on this Impeachment as hurting them, not the Dems.

  2. LightPurple says:

    And, unlike Chief Justice Roberts, Patrick Leahy needs to enforce the rules. If Marsha Blackburn decides she would rather spend the hearing time giving interviews out in the corridor or partying in the cloakroom again or Lindsey Graham decides to leave 5 minutes after the start, like they both did last year, the rules should be followed and they should be barred from re-entry and voting.

  3. Ang says:

    Biden is doing everything right. Playing this presidency like the class act and pro he is.

    • Diana says:

      Was just going to say the same. Super impressed with how he is rocking the presidency already!!!! Laser focused, and he has assembled a wonderful team of pros. He has really dialed into the daily suffering of everyday Americans and handling shit like a boss!!!

      • Joan Rivers says:

        Yes! Didn’t mean to repeat your comments but missed them when I typed.

        The Biden Admin. doesn’t get nearly enough praise, so far.

  4. Leah says:

    Good that he’s staying out of it. It’s the job of his AG to handle legal particulars. To be honest, it’s really an open and shut case because there’s video and tweets. It was a premeditated attack/attempted coup. Trump’s big mouth has sealed his fate because we are all witnesses to Jan 6th.

    Biden is doing what a president does, to govern over a country that is so broken and sick it’s going to take decades to fix.

  5. kimmy says:

    If anything, it will annoy Trump more if Biden stays quiet and doesn’t talk about him.

    I see what you are up to, Joe. 😉

    • MF1 says:

      That’s exactly right. He knows 45 thrives off of attention and he’s not playing into that. I’m starting to think Joe’s a lot smarter than any of us gave him credit for.

      • AMA1977 says:

        He has 45’s number, that’s for sure. He knows how to handle a bully and Drumpf can’t stand it. Joe refuses to play his stupid games or to rise to the bait, and ignores him like the nothing he is now.

  6. JanetDR says:

    Isn’t it fantastic about have an article about the President and it’s just normal?! We have a long way to go yet, but what a relief this is! Of course Biden isn’t going to insert himself, why would he?
    I will say that the press is making me a bit crazy with their stupid questions, but bless Jen Psaki for giving straight, first answers.

  7. K says:

    Biden knows he was hired for this job principally to unfuck our country, fix as many things that Trump broke as he can during his limited time as President. Joe’s waited most of his life for this opportunity, so why should he waste any more of his time speculating on Trump’s well-known failings? Letting other qualified people do their jobs to hold him accountable now is the mature and professional thing to do.

    Man, it’s great to be talking about a human president again instead of a demon Cheeto. Our expectations had been so lowered that I’m just happy to have leaders who aren’t actively evil.

    • Joan Rivers says:

      I love feeling CONFIDENT in the POTUS now, and in his Admin. They act like pro’s, they know what they’re doing.

      And they figure out ways to use the levers of power, if they’re blocked one way, they use another. His almost 50 years in DC really helps us here, and he seems to have a good idea of how govt. works.

  8. KNY says:

    I think Biden is doing the right (and smart) thing by putting the focus on all the other stuff that’s going on and not the impeachment. He will change no one’s mind and anything he says will put a target on his back. Also, it’s not even like he gets a vote.

    I can’t believe 1 month ago I took a break from what I was doing to watch Congress ratify the results and sat in horror as terrorists stormed the Capitol. These are insane times and it’s terrifying that republicans are trying to glide past the violent culmination of their misinformation and fear mongering. Shameful.