Joe Biden said Tuesday that he’s “praying” the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial is “the right verdict,” and suggested that the evidence of Chauvin’s guilt is “overwhelming.”
“I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict. The evidence is overwhelming in my view,” he told reporters.
Chauvin is charged with second and third-degree murder, as well as manslaughter. Biden did not specify which charge he believes Chauvin is guilty of.
On Monday, Biden reportedly called Floyd’s family after the jury entered the deliberation room. He said to reporters on Tuesday, “I can only imagine the pressure and anxiety they’re feeling, and so I waited until the jury was sequestered and I called.”
“They’re a good family,” Biden continued.
Biden’s call coincided with the day closing arguments were delivered in court. White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed that the call occurred. At Tuesday’s White House press briefing, Psaki mentioned that Biden’s “I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict” comments in the Oval Office were not meant to influence the jury.
“I don’t think he would see it as weighing in on the verdict…,” Psaki said.
George Floyd’s brother, Philonise, said about Biden’s phone call, “He was just calling. He knows how it is to lose a family member. And he knows that the process of what we’re going through so he was just letting us know that he was praying for us, and hoping that everything would come out to be OK.”
Biden is the second major elected official to comment on the Chauvin trial proceedings this week.
Biden’s call to the Floyd family and words to reporters come after Maxine Waters’s inflammatory speech at a protest near Brooklyn Center, Minn. Waters urged protestors to “get more confrontational” and “stay in the streets” if the jury acquitted Chauvin.
The defense attorney in the trial argued that Waters comments were prejudicial to the jury and constituted grounds for a mistrial. The judge subsequently denied the defense’s motion for a mistrial.
Waters visited Brooklyn Center after Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was fatally shot by a police officer. Biden has pleaded for calm in the aftermath of Wright’s death. Officials are reportedly preparing for unrest and potential violence pending the verdict of the trial.