MSNBC guests gave the Biden administration the benefit of the doubt on Tuesday over its response to the violent unrest in Minneapolis. President Biden called for “peace and calm” in the wake of the police-involved shooting and car accident that led to the death of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, in Minnesota’s Brooklyn Center.
In a scene that mirrored the aftermath of the police-involved killing of George Floyd last summer, dozens of businesses were ransacked by rioters following Wright’s death.
But the Washington Post’s Ashley Parker and CBS reporter Wesley Lowery still found things to admire about the Biden administration.
“All of these issues are things they take incredibly seriously,” Parker said of the administration on “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams.” Parker reminded viewers that when then-candidate Biden launched his presidential campaign, he said that one of the reasons he was running was because of the deadly White supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. Biden, Parker said, came into office identifying “racial inequity.” She added how impressed she was that Biden met with the Congressional Black Caucus for an hour more than had originally been scheduled on Tuesday.
But she admitted the White House still has a ways to go on race relations.
“How successful the Biden administration will be in countering this still remains an open question” because, she said, Black men are still dying. The administration is “far from declaring any successes but it is also something they are committed to and something this president feels passionately about,” Parker explained.
CBS “60 Minutes” reporter Wesley Lowery later shared his own hope with Williams that Biden could solve this issue, although he said he had his doubts. Lowery suggested Biden Justice Department nominees Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke, in particular, could heal the relationship between minority communities and police.
Clarke, nominated to lead the DOJ’s civil rights division, made news Wednesday for announcing she opposes the effort to defund the police. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., doubted that declaration.
“I believe the Biden administration and their officials when they say they care about these issues and this is a top priority,” Lowery said. “What is difficult here is that [in] the United States of America, policing is a local and state government issue. It’s not an issue in which the Department of Justice or the presidency and the White House can just come in and in a sweeping piece of legislation, change how policing works in America.”
Other media such as the New York Times shared their doubts that President Biden will do anything to stem the violence, especially considering he abandoned his pledge to establish a national commission to address policing issues and instead embraced The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021, a piece of legislation “unlikely to become law.”
“After President Biden abandoned a campaign promise to establish a police oversight commission during his first 100 days in office, administration officials have provided few details about how far he will go to combat racism in policing,” the Times wrote Tuesday.
UPDATE: This story was updated to include additional remarks from Lowery.
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