May 31, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Biden breaks silence on Trump conviction, defends justice system

President Biden addressed former President Trump's criminal conviction for the first time Friday, warning that it's "reckless, dangerous, and irresponsible for anyone to say this was rigged just because they don't like the verdict."

Why it matters: Republicans have erupted in outrage over Trump's conviction on 34 felony counts in his New York hush money trial — with some warnings of recriminations if Trump wins the election in November.

  • Trump himself went on a 40-minute tirade in a news conference Friday at Trump Tower, where he vowed to appeal the ruling, criticized the prosecution as a "sham," and called the presiding judge "the devil."
  • Some Republicans have called on Trump to target the Biden family and Democratic prosecutors if the former president takes back the White House.

What they're saying: "The American principle that no one is above the law was reaffirmed," Biden said at the outset of a speech about the war in Gaza and ongoing hostage negotiations.

  • "Donald Trump was given every opportunity to defend himself, it was a state case, not a federal case, and it was heard by a jury of 12 citizens," he continued, noting that the jury ruled unanimously after hearing evidence for five weeks.
  • "Now, he'll be given the opportunity, as he should, to appeal that decision, just like everyone else has that opportunity. That's how the American system of justice works."

"It's reckless, it's dangerous, it's irresponsible for anyone to say this was rigged just because they don't like the verdict," Biden said.

  • "Our justice system should be respected, and we should never allow anyone to tear it down. It's as simple as that."
  • "That's America. That's who we are. And that's who we'll always be, God willing," he concluded.
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