Apr 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden says "right verdict" in Chauvin trial is "overwhelming"

President Biden told reporters Tuesday that he's "come to know" George Floyd's family and that he's "praying the verdict is the right verdict" in Derek Chauvin's trial, as the nation awaits the jury's decision.

Why it matters: Officials fear a not-guilty decision in the high-profile case could inflame racial tensions and set off a new wave of riots. The jury was sequestered and entered deliberation after closing arguments on Monday.

What they're saying: "It's overwhelming, in my view," Biden said without elaborating. "I wouldn't say that unless the jury was sequestered."

  • Philonise Floyd, George Floyd's brother, said on NBC's "Today" that Biden called him and his family on Monday "to let us know he was praying for us and hoping everything would come out to be OK."
  • "He knows how it is to lose a family member, and he knows the process of what we're going through," Floyd said.
  • "They're a good family. And they're calling for peace and tranquility, no matter what that verdict is," Biden told reporters about his conversations with the Floyd family.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a briefing Tuesday she expects Biden will say more once a verdict is announced. "The president has clearly been watching the trial very closely," she told reporters. "Regardless of the outcome the president has consistently called for peace."

  • "He certainly is not looking to influence" the trial, she added.

The big picture: Congress and the White House are both bracing for the verdict. At a closed-door meeting last week with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Biden said he was concerned about potential fallout from the trial.

  • Thousands of National Guard troops and law enforcement officers have been on the ground in Minneapolis since March.
  • The D.C. National Guard has activated roughly 250 members to support local police "in response to potential First Amendment demonstrations."

Go deeper: 🎧 The jury’s job in the Chauvin trial

Editor's note: This story has been updated with the press secretary's comments.

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