“I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict, which is — I think it’s overwhelming, in my view,” he told reporters in the Oval Office. “I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now, not hearing me say that.”
Biden also elaborated on a phone call he made to the Floyd family Monday, after the prosecution and defense attorneys finished their closing arguments and the jury began its deliberations.
“I can only imagine the pressure and anxiety they’re feeling. And so I waited until the jury was sequestered, and I called. And I wasn’t going to say anything about it,” Biden said.
“They’re a good family,” he added of the Floyds. “And they’re calling for peace and tranquility, no matter what that verdict is.”
Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, first revealed Tuesday morning that Biden had reached out to the family. The White House later confirmed the call.
“He knows how it is to lose a family member, and he knows the process of what we’re going through,” Philonise Floyd told NBC’s “Today” show. “So he was just letting us know that he was praying for us and hoping that everything will come out to be OK.”
A verdict could be reached in Chauvin’s trial at any time. The former officer is charged with three counts: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The most serious charge carries a maximum 40-year sentence.
As recently as Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki had declined to answer whether Biden would be disappointed if Chauvin was acquitted.
The president’s top spokesperson was similarly evasive Tuesday when asked about the Biden’s latest comments — including whether they could contribute to potential unrest after the verdict is announced or eventually become grounds for a mistrial.
Psaki denied that Biden was “weighing in on the verdict” and said she would not “provide additional analysis on what he meant.” She also maintained that Biden“certainly is not looking to influence” the trial’s outcome.
“He was conveying what many people are feeling across the country, which is compassion for the family … [and] what a difficult time this is for many Americans across the country who have been watching this trial very closely,” Psaki said.
“The jury is sequestered,” she added. “That is different from where things stood just yesterday. And he noted that in his comments, as well.”