Nearly a week after expressing strong support over Major League Baseball’s decision to move its All-Star Game out of Atlanta in response to the state’s new voting laws, President Biden sought to cast the blame on Georgia for causing corporations to make such difficult decisions in “speaking up” with boycott calls in opposition to “these new Jim Crow laws.”
Following his White House announcement event on the COVID vaccination, Biden declined to say whether he thinks the Masters golf tournament should follow similar protests move like the MLB and relocate out of Augusta.
“I think that’s up to the Masters,” Biden said responding to Fox News reporter Peter Doocy’s question regarding the upcoming high-profile golf tournament in Augusta, Ga set to take place this Thursday.
Biden went on applauding leagues and large businesses for “speaking up” in condemning Georgia’s new voting law but acknowledged that entities who take a political stand could hurt everyday Americans the most over its boycott decision.
“Look, you know, it is reassuring to see that for-profit operations and businesses are speaking up about how these new Jim Crow laws are just antithetical to who we are,” Biden said, peddling the same divisive slander woke liberal Democrats slapped on the Georgia law to push unfounded false and debunked claims that even the Washington Post slapped “Four-Pinocchios” on the president’s statement.
“There’s another side to it, too,” Biden added. “The other side to it too is: When they, in fact, move out of Georgia, the people who need the help the most — people who are making hourly wages — sometimes get hurt the most.”
The president opted to pin the onus on Georgia and for putting corporations into making such “tough decisions,” saying that the Peach State needs to “smarten up” to avoid future business from leaving.
“I think it’s a very tough decision for a corporation to make or a group to make, but I respect it when they make that judgment, and I support whatever judgment they make,” Biden said. “But it’s — the best way to deal with this is for Georgia and other states to smarten up. Stop it. It’s about getting people to vote.”
Biden struck a more reserved tone compared to his ESPN interview from a week ago when he offered his full-throttle support in the MLB to yank the July 13 Midsummer Classic out of the Peach State in protest of the new voting laws.
“I think today’s professional athletes are acting incredibly responsibly. I would strongly support them doing that,” Biden told ESPN last week in an interview. “People look to them. They’re leaders. The very people who are victimized the most are the leaders in these various sports. This is Jim Crow on steroids, what they’re doing in Georgia and 40 other states.”
The baseball league ultimately followed through Biden’s indirect encouragement just two days later, relocating the All-Star game and the 2021 MLB Draft to Colorado — a state where its voting laws are more restrictive than Georgia.
Following the MLB move, the White House deviated from Biden’s ESPN statement, arguing that the president’s remark was taken out of context and that he wasn’t “dictating” the baseball league to relocate.
“He was not dictating what Major League Baseball should do,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a Monday press briefing. “That was their decision, they made their decision and he certainly supports that.”
“He supports them being able to make the decision and respond to what their players’ asks are given many of them are impacted by these laws,” Psaki added.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) pushed back on the White House criticisms of the law, slamming both Biden and Psaki for spreading misinformation on the voting law.
“The spread of misinformation by the Biden White House continues. The Election Integrity Act makes it easy to vote and hard to cheat,” Kemp tweeted in response to Psaki’s remark criticizing the voting law. “I hope Press Sec will “circle back” once she’s actually read the bill.”
Corporations headquartered and heavily invested in Georgia, including Delta Airlines, Coca-Cola, and owners of three Atlanta professional sports teams have all spoken out in condemning the new legislation. The mounting criticism has sparked blowback from Republicans, with some lashing out at companies that have waded into the debate, while others threatened retaliation in calls to remove MLB’s federal antitrust exception.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweeted following the MLB announcement questioned why Republicans are “still listening to these woke corporate hypocrites” who embrace policies that are at odds with Democrats such as taxes, regulations, and antitrust.
On Monday, Rubio penned a scathing letter to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, challenging him to make a personal sacrifice in sacrificing his membership at Augusta National Golf Club in protest of Georgia voting law, as well as ending the baseball league engagement with nations like China and Cuba.
“Will Major League Baseball now end its engagement with nations that do not hold elections at all like China and Cuba?” Rubio wrote. “Will you end your lucrative financial relationship with Tencent, a company with deep ties to the Communist Party and actively helps the Chinese Government hunt down and silence political dissidents?”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) earlier on Tuesday denounced sports associations and private companies of “behaving like a woke parallel government” in taking sides on a “highly incendiary issue,” warning companies who take a stand against a state’s policy risk losing businesses.
Former President Donald Trump also jumped on the issue, urging Republicans to take a stand against nine firms that have said the Georgia law undermines election integrity and called on “Republicans and Conservatives to fight back.”