JOE Biden has come under fire for "politicizing" the murder trial of Derek Chauvin after he said he was "praying for the right verdict" and called the evidence against the ex-cop "overwhelming".
Leading the charge of outrage against the president is Texas GOP Senator Ted Cruz, who said on Tuesday that Biden's remarks could even lead to a mistrial in the case.
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Earlier today, speaking with reporters ahead of a meeting in the Oval Office, Biden confirmed he'd spoken with the family of George Floyd and offered them his support as they await a verdict in the trial.
The confirmation followed after Floyd's younger brother, Philonise Floyd, appeared on the TODAY show, revealing Biden had called him to "let us know that he was praying for us, hoping that everything will come out to be ok."
Speaking with reporters, Biden said: "I can only imagine the pressure and anxiety they're feeling, and so I waited until the jury was sequestered, and I called.
"I wasn't going to say anything about it, but Philonise said today on television, and he accurately said it was a private conversation because Joe understands what it was like to go through loss."
Biden continued that the Floyds are a "good family" and they're "calling for peace and tranquility, no matter what that verdict is."
He added: "I'm praying that verdict is the right verdict, which I think it's overwhelming, in my view. I wouldn't say that unless the jury was sequestered now."
The jury in the trial of Chauvin was sequestered yesterday evening and deliberated in private at an undisclosed hotel.
None of the 12-person panel was allowed to carry cell phones or any other electrical devices until a decision is reached. They're were also not allowed to watch the news.
On Tuesday evening, they found Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after deliberating for 10.5 hours.
"Joe Biden decides that Maxine Waters shouldn’t be the only politician foolishly providing grounds for a mistrial or a possible basis on appeal to challenge any guilty conviction," Cruz said in a tweet this afternoon.
During her address, Waters urged activists to "get confrontational" if Chauvin was acquitted in the death of George Floyd.
She has since been accused by Republican lawmakers of inciting violence and has even faced calls to be removed from Congress.
Also criticizing Biden on Tuesday was Trump-era White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who insisted presidents should refrain from inflaming tensions.
“I’m glad that he at least waited until the jury was sequestered. But I think that the country is such a tinderbox right now, especially Minneapolis," she said on Fox News.
"There’s so much hurt, so much pain. And I think it’s the role of the president of the United States to stay back, to not inflame the [email protected]
She did, however, praise Biden for reaching out to the family privately.
“I think he should have just reserved comment and said he’s praying for the family as we all are,” she added.
The Kentucky Republican noted that "sometimes a fair trial is difficult to conduct" before emphasizing that "it is certainly not helpful for a member of Congress, and even the president of the U.S. to appear to be weighing in in public, while the jury is trying to sort through this significant case."
The White House, meanwhile, attempted to counteract the mounting criticizm by insisting Biden wasn't attempting to "influence" the trial.
Psaki said Biden felt it was the appropriate time to weigh in on the trial, after the jury were sequestered yesterday.
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“As he also noted, the jury is sequestered which is why he spoke to this, but I would expect he will weigh in more – further once there is a verdict and I’m not going to provide additional analysis on what he meant,” Psaki said during a press briefing.
When pressed on whether Biden's words could add to potential unrest if the "right verdict" isn't returned, Psaki said Biden has always called for peace.
“Our focus, as we’re working with state and local authorities, is on providing the space for peaceful protest and that will be consistent regardless of what the outcome of the verdict is,” she said.