- Jen Psaki on Wednesday rejected Sen. Mitt Romney's comparison of Biden and Trump.
- Romney equated Trump's 2020 election lies to Biden's push to advance voting rights legislation.
- "I think anyone would note there's a night and day difference between fomenting an insurrection based on lies … and making objective, true statements," Psaki said.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday rejected Sen. Mitt Romney's comparison of President Joe Biden's push to advance voting rights legislation to former President Donald Trump's debunked claims about the 2020 election results.
"With all due respect to Senator Romney, I think anyone would note there's a night and day difference between fomenting an insurrection based on lies … and making objective, true statements," Psaki told reporters during a press briefing.
Romney, a Utah Republican, made the comparison during remarks on the Senate floor on Tuesday evening, hours after Biden gave a speech in Atlanta, Georgia, in which he called on Congress to pass a pair of voting and elections bills. The legislation comes in response to several Republican-led state legislatures passing new laws last year to tighten voting access.
"President Biden goes down the same tragic road taken by President Trump — casting doubt on the reliability of American elections," Romney said. "This is a sad, sad day. I expected more of President Biden, who came into office with the stated goal of bringing the country together."
The two bills in question — the Freedom To Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act — would make sweeping changes to standardize election laws across the country, expand voting access, prohibit partisan gerrymandering, and restore key elements of the Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court has weakened over time.
Republicans have repeatedly blocked both pieces of legislation and decried what they describe as an attempted power grab by the federal government to control state administration election processes.
Besides Romney, other congressional Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have criticized the forceful rhetoric Biden used on Tuesday to make his case. In one part of his speech, Biden compared the current dispute over voting rights to the historic fight between civil rights activists and segregationists.
Psaki rejected those criticisms on Wednesday.
"I know there's been a lot of claim of the offensive nature of the speech yesterday, which is hilarious on many levels, given how many people sat silently over the last four years for the former president," she said. "But I would note that in our view, and the president's view, what is far more offensive is the effort to suppress people's basic right to exercise who they want to support and who they want to elect. That's not a partisan thing. And that was why he gave such a strong speech yesterday."
Romney, unlike many of his Republican colleagues, had publicly broken from Trump on many occasions while he was in office, including voting to convict him during his first and second impeachment trials. Romney has also pushed back on Trump's lies that the 2020 election was overrun by widespread voter fraud and his attempts to overturn the results.