WATCH: CMC Alum Michael Shear Jousts with White House Press Sec.
Footage courtesy of C-SPAN
In April, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre got into a tense clash with New York Times reporter Michael Shear (CM '90). Shear suggested the Biden administration was being selectively silent in response to legal issues involving former President Donald Trump.
Note: This debate occurred in response to former President Trump's indictment in Manhattan. However, neither the White House press office nor the President has commented on Trump's recent indictment on 37 federal charges, either.
With a former President facing criminal charges in multiple jurisdictions, American politics are in entirely uncharted territory. As these cases progress, there will be more pressure for the Biden Administration to respond.
Biden's advisors privately acknowledge that their reason for not responding is political. Any remarks the Administration makes will give Trump ammunition for his claims of political persecution. If Biden comments, you can bank on Trump using the clip in his campaign ads.
Still, it is unclear how not commenting helps Biden. Support for Trump’s arrest breaks down on partisan lines. Even though Trump was charged by an independent prosecutor, much of the public assumes the President to be behind charges issued by the Department of Justice.
Republican lawmakers and Presidential hopefuls continue to disparage the rule of law. The President, whose constitutional oath is to uphold those laws, seems intent on doing so in silence. But the silence isn’t painless for Biden. As Shear wrote last week, “It prevents the president from defending the government’s legal system against Mr. Trump’s relentless, yearslong attacks, which are now amplified and echoed by his Republican allies.”
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Click here to read a recent piece by Shear and his colleagues on how President Biden’s age is playing out in the 2024 Election. Click here to keep up with Shear’s day-by-day White House coverage for the New York Times.