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

Headline Roundup January 20th, 2022

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. 

From the Right

Following Biden’s first press conference in months, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki quickly moved to walk back the president’s confusing claims regarding the potential illegitimacy of upcoming elections.

“[Let’s] be clear: [President Biden] was not casting doubt on the legitimacy of the 2022 election. He was making the opposite point: In 2020, a record number of voters turned out in the face of a pandemic, and election officials made sure they could vote and have those votes counted,” Psaki tweeted on the morning after the press conference. “He was explaining that...

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From the Center

US President Joe Biden has suggested the 2022 midterm elections could be "illegitimate" as his plan to overhaul the voting system was blocked.

In a White House news conference, he argued voting integrity hinged on his bid to enact the most sweeping changes to US elections in a generation.

He also conceded shortcomings on Covid testing and messaging, but pledged: "It will get better."

For the first time, he vowed to retain Kamala Harris as his 2024 running mate.

In his second ever solo White House press conference on Wednesday,...

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From the Left

At Wednesday's press conference, President Joe Biden was asked a simple question. It was this: "Speaking of voting rights legislation, if this isn't passed, do you still believe the upcoming election will be fairly conducted and its results will be legitimate?"

The easy answer -- and the one Biden's White House wishes he gave -- goes something like this: "Yes, despite all of the Republicans' attempts to limit who can vote and when, I ultimately have faith in the American political system's ability to produce a free and fair election."


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