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President Biden rips Republican Jim Crow vote suppression efforts in first press conference

President Biden rips Republican Jim Crow vote suppression efforts in first press conference

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After suffering through Donald Trump’s fact-free press conferences-cum-campaign events for four years, President Biden’s inaugural media event today was like a wafting scent of roses that practically eliminated the stench leftover by the previous administration’s lies.

While right-wing media made much hay out of the fact that Biden took longer than most presidents to hold his initial press conference, few other presidents have been handed a national crisis of the magnitude that Trump left dumped on the new president’s doorstep — one that demanded immediate and full attention, particularly given the truncated and poorly managed transition period bungled by an outgoing administration more interested in pretending that the election was stolen rather than ensuring continuity of governance.

While many of the topics that Biden touched on in his presser today concerned the topics that one would expect — vaccinations and the battle to recover from the Trump regime’s incompetent handling of the pandemic, immigration issues that Republicans have pushed back into the forefront, and the fate of the Senate filibuster as Biden tries to get his ambitious agenda through that notoriously sclerotic body — the president reserved some of his harshest comments for GOP efforts to restrict voting rights after the 2020 election demonstrated that the higher the voter turnout, the smaller percentage of Republican voters (and victories) that ensue.

Asked by a reporter to comment on the opposition party’s rushed attempts to pass laws that would make it more difficult for people to access their polling places and cast their ballots, Biden was unequivocal in his condemnation of the blatantly political and undemocratic efforts.

“What I’m worried about is how un-American this whole initiative is,” President Biden insisted. “It’s sick. It’s sick. Deciding, in some states, that you cannot bring water to people standing in line waiting to vote; deciding that you’re gonna end voting at five o’clock when working people are just getting off work; deciding that there will be no absentee ballots under the most rigid circumstances, is all designed.”

The president vowed that he would not allow this attack on the sacred voting rights of American citizens to continue.

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“I’m convinced that we’ll be able to stop this, because it is the most pernicious thing,” he declared. “This makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle. I mean, this is gigantic, what they’re trying to do. And it cannot be sustained.”

President Biden promised to “do everything in my power, along with my friends in the House and the Senate, to keep that from becoming the law.”

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Hopefully, with the changes in the Senate filibuster rules that Biden pointedly noted that he “strongly supports,” the For The People Act — which would make many of the state-level voter suppression bills moot — can be passed by a simple majority and become the law of the land.

You can view excerpts of President Joe Biden’s first press conference with his remarks on voting rights in the video clips below.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter. 

Original reporting by Thomas Kaplan at The New York Times and by Aaron Rupar at Vox.

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