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Chauvin trial: Biden to deliver remarks after verdict

The White House has spent weeks considering how it will respond to either an acquittal or a guilty verdict.
Image: President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House on April 15, 2021.
President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House on April 15, 2021.Andrew Harnik / AP

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is expected to deliver remarks after the jury in the Derek Chauvin trial renders a verdict, according to multiple administration officials.

The White House is monitoring the trial’s developments and is preparing a statement for Biden, who has been gaming out with his team for the last two weeks how to react to various verdicts.

The administration has also planned for possible public demonstrations in response to the verdict, including meetings with counterterrorism and Homeland Security advisers and Cedric Richmond, the White House director of public engagement.

The trial entered its final stage Monday as prosecutors and the defense team delivered closing arguments. The jury will then begin deliberations. The charges against Chavuin include second-degree murder.

Regardless of the outcome, the president is expected to emphasize the pain, grief and outrage sparked by George Floyd’s death and that of other Black men at the hands of police.

The White House response is expected to incorporate feedback based on recent conversations Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have conducted with civil rights activists and members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

The president’s statement will likely stretch beyond his Oval Office remarks last week, an administration official said, when he called for "peace and calm" following the killing of Daunte Wright — a Black 20-year-old who was shot and killed by a white police officer who was said to be reaching for a Taser but instead fired her gun. Biden said Wright’s death was “no justification” for violence or looting.

As the country braces for a verdict in the Chauvin trial, officials said the White House is in contact with local officials to prepare for protests.

“We are working with state and local leaders to advance our shared goal of ensuring public safety and citizens' rights to peaceful protest,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during a press briefing earlier this month. “The president will continue to monitor the developments, and our team will remain in contact with these officials on the ground, as well as with civil rights leaders and community stakeholders.”

Biden has spoken with Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, also a Democrat, and the White House has been in frequent contact with Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, a White House official said.

One official said that U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland plans to have a visible public role in the administration’s response and there have been discussions about mobilizing the National Guard in all 50 states.

The Department of Justice's community relations service, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office are all working in Minnesota in support of Operation Safety Net, which is the local law enforcement effort to keep the peace in Minneapolis as protests have escalated during the trial and after Wright's death.