White House says Biden is too busy with coronavirus relief package to watch Trump’s impeachment trial

President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is too busy working on his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package to watch former President Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial, the White House said on Tuesday.

“This is obviously a big story in the country. No one’s denying that here and there’s certainly going to be a lot of attention and focus on it. But our focus and the president’s focus is on putting people back to work, getting the pandemic under control,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at her Tuesday briefing when asked if Mr. Biden would comment on the trial’s constitutionality.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki participates in a briefing Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Chandler West) 
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki participates in a briefing Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Chandler West)

“And that means we’re not going to weigh in on every question about the impeachment trial and we don’t feel it’s necessary, or our role to do that.”

The President echoed these sentiments and reaffirmed that his priorities have not changed when he delivered remarks before a meeting with business leaders Tuesday afternoon.

Asked if he would be watching the proceedings, Biden said, “I am not. Look, I told you before: I have a job. My job is to keep people — we’ve already lost over 450,000 people. We’re going to lose a whole lot more if we don’t act, and act decisively and quickly. A lot of people, as I said, are going — a lot of children are going to be hungry. A lot of families are food insecure. They’re in trouble. That’s my job.”

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris receive a briefing on police commission membership from Director of the Domestic Policy Council Susan Rice, Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement Cedric Richmond, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Bruce Reed, Vice President’s Chief of Staff Tina Flournoy, Adviser to the Policy Director, Stef Feldman and Council to the President Dana Remus Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz) 
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris receive a briefing on police commission membership from Director of the Domestic Policy Council Susan Rice, Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement Cedric Richmond, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Bruce Reed, Vice President’s Chief of Staff Tina Flournoy, Adviser to the Policy Director, Stef Feldman and Council to the President Dana Remus Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

“The Senate has their job; they’re about to begin it. I’m sure they’re going to conduct themselves well. And that’s all I’m going to have to say about impeachment,” Biden continued.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden wave as they ride in the Presidential limousine Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, en route to Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz) 
President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden wave as they ride in the Presidential limousine Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, en route to Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

The Senate voted Tuesday to proceed with the impeachment as six Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues in a 56-44 vote favoring the constitutionality of trying the former President.

Noah Pitcher is a global politics correspondent for Today News Africa covering the U.S. government, United Nations, African Union, and other actors involved in international developments, political controversies, and humanitarian issues.

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