President Joe Biden on Friday morning steered clear of weighing in on his predecessor’s indictment, declining to respond to questions from reporters about that development before traveling to a Mississippi town that was hit by a tornado last week.
“I’m not going to talk about the Trump indictment,” Biden said.
A Manhattan grand jury voted Thursday to indict Trump, marking the first time in history that a former U.S. president will face criminal charges. With the indictment yet to be unsealed, the specifics aren’t clear, but a district attorney has alleged that the 45th president broke the law for his role in a hush-money payment to an adult-film actress.
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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre offered comments on Trump that were similar to Biden’s.
“So you heard from the president just earlier this morning on the South Lawn before taking off for this trip to Mississippi,” she told reporters aboard Air Force One. “Look, we’re just not going to comment on any ongoing case, and I’ll just leave it there.”
Biden is scheduled to give a speech at around 2:25 p.m. Eastern time Friday in Rolling Fork, Miss., in which he will “reaffirm his commitment to supporting the people of Mississippi as they recover and rebuild from the devastating storms,” the White House said. He traveled to the state with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell and other officials.
The president will announce that the federal government will “cover 100% of the cost of the state’s emergency measures for the next 30 days,” Jean-Pierre said.
“These measures include removing debris, operating shelters and paying overtime to first responders. He will also announce that FEMA will open disaster-recovery centers in storm-ravaged counties to help residents access the federal resources available to them,” she added.
President Biden and first lady Jill Biden were planning to tour the disaster zone on foot and to meet with local residents and were due to get a briefing from federal, state and local officials on the response and recovery efforts.
Powerful tornadoes tore through parts of the Deep South a week ago, killing at least 23 people in Mississippi and taking an especially devastating toll on Rolling Fork.
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