Headline RoundupJanuary 20th, 2022

Political World Reacts to Biden's Comments About Potential Illegitimacy in 2022 Elections

AllSides Summary

In a rare press conference on Wednesday, President Joe Biden made remarks about election legitimacy that heightened political tensions.

In response to a question about potential illegitimacy in the 2022 midterm elections, Biden said "it easily could be illegitimate. Imagine if, in fact, Trump has succeeded in convincing Pence to not count the votes." The reporter then clarified that they were asking about the 2022 elections rather than 2020, and Biden added "...I'm not going to say it's going to be legit. It's the increase and the prospect of being illegitimate is in direct proportion to us not being able to get these reforms passed." White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said later that Biden "was not casting doubt" on the legitimacy of the 2022 midterms, and accused former President Donald Trump of "putting our democracy at risk" with continued claims about 2020 election fraud.

Coverage was more common from right-rated sources, which often framed Biden's remarks as confusing and potentially dangerous; some reports framed Psaki and Vice President Kamala Harris as dodging questions about the remarks or doubling down on Biden's comments. Reports from left-rated sources tended to focus on clarifications from Psaki and Harris.  ABC News (Lean Left bias) reported that Psaki and Harris "worked to dispel" mistrust in elections that Biden's comments could have caused. Reports from Axios (Center bias)Washington Examiner (Lean Right bias) and others framed Biden's "easily could be illegitimate" comment as being about the 2022 elections; CNN implied that Biden misunderstood the question and was instead referring to 2020 with that comment. 

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