After both Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris refused to answer during their respective debates whether they’d pack the Supreme Court, Biden actually told a reporter this past weekend that voters “don’t deserve to know” the answer to that crucial question.
But CNN, the network who’s never afraid to aggressively criticize President Trump with snarky condescending commentary and chyrons, was strangely soft on Biden’s blunder. On Monday morning’s CNN Newsroom, CNN co-host Poppy Harlow and guests Olivia Troye and Abby Phillip seemed puzzled, rather than troubled by Biden’s alarming comments and eagerly touted his campaign’s claim this was a distraction from the right.
After mildly correcting Biden for calling Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation “unconstitutional,” Harlow asked her Never Trumper Troye: “[D]o you think that voters deserve to know what, if he becomes president, he and Harris would support? ” That question would’ve been phrased much differently had candidate Trump made such a shocking admission.
After her guest deflect blame from Biden, Harlow actually tried to spin Biden’s answers from a year ago, before he was the nominee, and 37 years ago as a Senator, as equivalent to answering today.
“My colleague Jake Tapper smartly pointed out yesterday on his show, that we actually kind of do know where Joe Biden stands on this issue of packing the court. Not only from a year ago but also from 1983,” she gushed before playing two clips of Biden denouncing court packing.
But to political correspondent Abby Phillip, Harlow asked why Biden “wouldn’t answer” the question now.
Phillip recited the Biden camp’s talking points down to the letter, even defending the dodges with this falsehood:
“I do think there is a strong sense among the Biden camp that they don’t want to let President Trump just sort of put random ideas on the table and they are forced to respond and being put on the defense.”
The issue of court packing was not raised by Trump but by the far-left wing of the Democrat party. Even Phillip’s colleague Jake Tapper admitted this was being pushed from the left, not Trump, in the same segment that Harlow was referencing above!
Regardless, Phillip continued pretending she was a Biden surrogate, doubling down on this idea it’s only a distraction from Republicans and Biden has been very clear:
I think the Biden campaign recognizes that the Trump campaign and Republicans are trying to set an agenda item, putting court packing on the table and forcing Biden to reject or accept it. As you pointed out, he doesn’t support this idea. He hasn’t in the past.
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Read the transcript below:
CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto
October 12, 2020
10:35 a.m. Eastern
POPPY HARLOW: We are in the middle of the beginning of a big week for the Supreme Court nomination hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Olivia, You’re a life ong Republican, Olivia, you’re supporting Joe Biden, Joe Biden will still not answer the question, when directly asked over and over again if he would support packing the Supreme Court if elected. Listen to this exchange with a reporter in Nevada over the weekend.
RE[ORTER: This is the number one thing I’ve been asked about from viewers in the past couple days.
BIDEN: Well you were asked by viewers who are probably Republicans, who don’t don’t want me to continue to talk about what they’re doing now.
REPORTER: But sir, don’t voters deserve to know–
BIDEN: No, they don’t. I’m not going to play his game.
HARLOW: He said they don’t deserve to know and then on Saturday here’s what else vice president Biden said.
BIDEN: Court packing is going on right now. Going on with Republicans packing the court now. It’s not constitutional what they’re doing.
HARLOW: He says it’s not constitutional what they’re doing. You know, it’s not unconstitutional but Olivia to the deserving to know point, do you think that voters deserve to know what, if he becomes president, he and Harris would support?
OLIVIA TROYE: I think it’s fair to ask Joe Biden to talk on this topic, especially because of what we’ve seen with the Trump administration repeatedly with the Supreme Court. But I can understand his viewpoint focused on the now and quite frankly, as a Republican, I am upset at the behavior of the Trump administration trying to push this nomination forward. I think that the Supreme Court is something that is critical to be taken so seriously for our country. They’re the fundamental values on the court. And personally I think it is the people’s court and to force this nomination through the way they are doing is I think is quite frankly, as a Republican, I find it embarrassing for the Trump administration with this behavior.
HARLOW: Abby, My colleague Jake Tapper smartly pointed out yesterday on his show, that we actually kind of do know where Joe Biden stands on this issue of packing the court. Not only from a year ago but also from 1983. Listen to these two.
BIDEN, 1983: President Roosevelt had the right to send to the United States Senate and Congress a proposal to pack the court but it was a bonehead idea. It was a terrible, terrible mistake to make.
BIDEN, 2019: I would not get into court packing. We had three justices, next time around we lose control, they add three justices. We begin to lose any credibility the court has at all.
HARLOW: Bonehead idea, I wouldn’t get it into it. Why wouldn’t he answer now?
ABBY PHILLIP: Yeah, this is one of the more odd things about where we are in the campaign. The only thing I can surmise is what Biden said in the earlier clip that you play, which is he doesn’t want to play Trump’s game. I think the Biden campaign recognizes that the Trump campaign and Republicans are trying to set an agenda item, putting court packing on the table and forcing Biden to reject or accept it. As you pointed out, he doesn’t support this idea. He hasn’t in the past. I do think it’s odd that he won’t just put this to bed. Look, Democrats on the left of Joe Biden have stomached a lot of other rejections on a lot of other issues, whether it’s Medicare For All, you name it, and I don’t see why Democrats wouldn’t stomach this one if Biden would just say, no, I don’t support this. But I do think there is a strong sense among the Biden camp that they don’t want to let President Trump just sort of put random ideas on the table and they are forced to respond and being put on the defense.
HARLOW: I hear you, but good for that reporter in Nevada who said by the way this is the number one issue I’m getting asked by voters in his state.