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Psaki: Biden won't spend much time watching Trump impeachment trial

Says views on Trump are 'very clear'
Jen Psaki white house press secretary
Posted at 1:27 PM, Feb 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-08 13:37:33-05

While White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a briefing Monday that President Joe Biden feels his predecessor was "not fit for office," she mostly sidestepped questions about former President Donald Trump's upcoming impeachment trial.

Trump's second impeachment trial begins on Tuesday, when Senators will weigh whether he directly incited the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol that left five people dead, including a Capitol police officer. It's all but certain that Trump will be acquitted following the trial, as very few Senate Republicans have signaled that they will vote to convict.

Since Biden's inauguration, Psaki has mostly avoided answering questions regarding the impending trial. But on Monday, she said it's "pretty clear" how Biden feels about Trump.

"He ran against him because he felt he was unfit for office and he defeated him...I think his views of the former president are pretty clear," Psaki said.

Psaki added that Biden would not be spending that much time focusing on the impeachment trial and would instead focus his efforts in passing the COVID-19 stimulus.

"I think it's clear from his schedule that he won't spend too much time watching the proceedings," Psaki said, adding that Biden would leave "pace and process" of the trial up to Congress.

Psaki was also asked about Biden's comments this weekend that implied that he would be willing to remove the $15 minimum wage from his proposed COVID-19 stimulus package if needed. Psaki clarified that Biden "remains committed" to raising the minimum wage during his term but added that the clause could fall victim to parliamentary procedures.

Democrats are using a procedure known as "reconciliation" that would allow Congress to speed up the process of passing Biden's proposed stimulus. However, the process puts some limits on what can be included in the bill.

While Biden has preached unity during his short time in office, Republicans have accused him of pressing ahead too quickly on his stimulus plan. When asked about Republican hesitation, Psaki cited polling that showed Biden's proposed bill remains extremely popular with Americans of all political persuasions.

"Why aren't [Republicans] supporting what the vast majority of the public supports?" Psaki said.