White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki walked back a claim President Joe Biden made Wednesday expressing skepticism of the legitimacy of the upcoming midterm elections.
Biden faced an onslaught of criticism after he said that the legitimacy of the election depended on the passage of a controversial voter rights law opposed by Republicans.
“Oh, yeah, I think it easily could be — be illegitimate,” said Biden in response to a question from a reporter.
“I’m not going to say it’s going to be legit,” said Biden about the 2022 midterm elections.
“The increase and the prospect of being illegitimate is in direct proportion to us not being able to get these — these reforms passed,” Biden added.
Democrats have been weighing the political consequences of ending the filibuster in order to push the voter rights law without any bipartisan support from Republicans.
On Thursday, Psaki contradicted Biden while trying to clean up his comments during a media briefing.
“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,” Psaki explained.
“And we have to be very eyes-wide-open about that and clear-eyed that that is the intention, potentially of him and certainly members of his party,” she added.
NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander pressed her on the issue for a clear response.
“If there are no changes in terms of voting rights legislation going forward, the president does still feel confident that the elections this fall will be protected?” Alexander asked.
“Yes,” she replied.
Critics of the president assailed him for undermining the legitimacy of the midterm election when many Democrats had berated former President Donald Trump for doing the same after the 2020 presidential election.