Spotlight returns to police reform with little movement from White House: The Note
The TAKE with Averi Harper
In the aftermath of the shooting death of Daunte Wright by police in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, and amid the ongoing trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the murder of George Floyd, the Twin Cities metro area has reemerged as ground zero in the conversation on police reform.
On Monday, White House Domestic Policy Council Director Susan Rice announced that the administration wouldn’t pursue the police oversight commission it promised to establish in the president’s first 100 days in office. Instead, she identified passing the George Floyd in Policing Act as its “top priority” in this area.
During a briefing Monday, Senior White House Correspondent Mary Bruce asked what steps the White House would take to pressure Congress, but press secretary Jen Psaki didn’t offer clear insight on what the administration is doing to ensure the bill gets to Biden’s desk for his signature.
Biden urged calm in the Twin Cities, where authorities enacted a curfew in an effort to stem protests following Wright’s shooting. Biden, in an exchange with reporters Monday, made no mention of the legislation, but said there is “absolutely no justification” for looting while acknowledging “the anger, pain and trauma that exists in the Black community.”
Undoubtedly, there will be many who wish the Biden administration would address police reform with the same urgency Biden addressed looting in the aftermath of Wright’s killing.
The RUNDOWN with Alisa Wiersema
The Biden administration’s goal to expand vaccine eligibility to all adults by May is on the horizon, but the White House is still facing immediate challenges in its approach to aiding states currently experiencing spikes in coronavirus cases amid ongoing vaccine distribution hurdles. The dual problem is becoming especially apparent in the upper Midwest, where cases and deaths are on the rise.
To combat the surge in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called on her constituents to voluntarily take a reprieve from indoor dining, gatherings and youth sports. And now that all Michiganders ages 16 and older are eligible for vaccinations, Whitmer said the state needs more vaccine doses from the federal government to get everyone inoculated and push back against the current outbreaks.
“What’s happening in Michigan today, can be happening in other states or other parts of the country tomorrow, and that’s why it’s important to squash this,” she said on Monday during a visit to a mass vaccination site.
The White House is responding by sending additional therapeutic and testing resources to help mitigate the surge on the ground but is adhering to its policy of being “fair and equitable around the country” by allocating doses according to state population. Meanwhile, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Monday that sending more vaccines to Michigan would take weeks to make a tangible difference in the surge.
Although Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist expressed gratitude to the White House for the steps taken so far, they said more can be done.