White House Press Secretary went into full-spin mode over a Biden executive order that even he didn’t believe was constitutional. On Wednesday, Psaki was confronted about Biden’s unilateral decision to extend a national moratorium on evictions. Watch:
“We’re talking about democracy versus autocracy,” a reporter asked. “He is issuing or overseeing this order from the CDC in the face of doubts about its constitutionality, which he seemed to echo yesterday. There is no inconsistency here? The President is — I mean, there are many people out there who say that the President is essentially not giving voice to the ethic that he campaigned on. He did not call Congress back. He asked Congress to act, didn’t. How do you square all that?”
“You know I’m going to ask you who is saying that,” Psaki replied.
“Well, there are plenty of people who are saying that. Not just Republicans,” the reporter said.
“Okay, I’ll leave that to others to figure out,” she responded. “But I think what’s important to note here is that the President would not have moved forward with a step where he didn’t feel comfortable and confident in the legal justification.”
“It’s also a reality that there are legal steps that have been taken by the Supreme Court in the last few months,” she said. “And we have spoken to that publicly. We will not hide from that.”
“But he asked the CDC and his legal experts to look at what is possible,” she continued. “This is a narrow, targeted moratorium that is different from The National moratorium, it’s not an extension of that, it’s a different moratorium from a policy and legal standpoint. So, he felt comfortable in the justification and the legal approach to this effort.”
“Quick follow-up on that, Jen?” the reporter pressed.
“Go ahead,” she responded.
“Thank you,” he continued. “You mentioned that the President is old-school, and Steve noted that the President spent a significant amount of time in the Senate and is also a lawyer. When was the moment that the President became certain that he was on solid legal standing to move forward with this extension? And what was the argument, specific legal argument that won out and changed his mind? Because yesterday he seemed to be weighing the two options.”
“Well, again, as I’ve been discussing, the justification from the legal team is that this is a different moratorium, it’s narrow, it’s targeted at the areas highest impacted,” she claimed. “It is not an extension of The National moratorium that was struck down just six weeks ago.”
“So is the sense here that this is temporary? It’s still like open question about constitutionality, but —” he started to ask.
“It is temporary. It was extended until October 3,” Psaki said.
“So it’s still a question of whether or not it is constitutional, but it’s worth it?” the reporter asked.
“I didn’t say that. He would not have advocated for and supported moving forward with something if he was not comfortable with the legal justification,” Psaki claimed before moving on. “Let me just go around — go ahead to the middle here.”
There are several issues with this version of events. First of all, Biden himself conceded that the extension of the eviction moratorium was “not likely to pass constitutional muster.” The Supreme Court in June struck down the national moratorium. Justice Kavanaugh warned that extending the moratorium beyond July 31 would require legislation.
“I’ve sought out constitutional scholars to determine, what is the best possibility that would come from executive action or the CDC’s judgment? What could they do that is most likely to pass muster, constitutionally?” Biden said on Tuesday.
“The bulk of the constitutional scholarship says it’s not likely to pass constitutional muster … But there are several key scholars who think that it may, and it’s worth the effort,” he said.
There are also questions about whether Biden pressured the Centers for Disease Control, a non-elected government body, to further the White House’s political agenda on a basis that does not rest on actual science.
National Review recently published an editorial on Biden’s “overreach” that puts the issue in stark relief.
“Insofar as it is legitimate for any government entity in the United States to engage in an ‘eviction moratorium,’ it is quite obviously a question for the states and localities, not for the federal government — and certainly not for an executive agency whose remit is the study and containment of infectious diseases,” the Editors wrote. “That, for eleven months, the American rental sector was controlled by the director of the CDC is nothing short of astonishing. Americans who wonder why they have such trouble keeping their government in check should look at this incident for instruction.”
We can dispense of the frilly language and call this out for what it is: Tyranny. It is an intentional abandonment of the President’s oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Donald Trump would have been impeached for far less — and was.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.