There have been few moments where a U.S. president was more unpresidential than a response by Joe Biden to a question this week. The Democrat was asked if he agreed with Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-MO) claim that Christians were targeted in Monday’s horrific school shooting.
Apparently acknowledging the source, Biden quipped “Well, I probably don’t then.” He added, “No, I’m joking — I have no idea.”
For Hawley and tens of millions of heartbroken Americans, it was no laughing matter. On Tuesday, the conservative senator requested the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI begin a federal hate crimes investigation.
That was not the only egregious reaction by the president to the massacre. In the hours just after the attack, he prefaced a statement on the incident by cracking jokes about ice cream.
Three nine-year-old children and three adults were murdered in the rampage at the private Covenant School in Nashville. Hawley made his feelings clear on the Senate floor.
This is just how Joe Biden operates these days, now past his 80th birthday and never the most disciplined or focused speaker, even in his younger days. Nobody likes it, but this is part of the deal when you elect Biden.https://t.co/KnT6Eoo2FI
— Jim Geraghty (@jimgeraghty) March 30, 2023
As he declared, “This murderous rampage, this taking of innocent life, was a horrific crime. But more specifically, it was a hate crime.” The Republican noted that it is a federal crime to target for religious reasons any person or group with acts of violence.
He added that it should not occur in the U.S. and action must be taken to ensure that these acts do not spread.
Hawley did not mince words over Biden’s flippant response to the question of Christians being targeted. He posted, “school children were killed yesterday in a hate crime — but rather than pushing for answers, Joe Biden is trying to make jokes. It’s beneath the office of the presidency.”
The pressure on the White House to forcefully respond to the school attack reached Attorney General Merrick Garland Tuesday afternoon. Testifying to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the AG was asked if a hate crimes investigation is being considered.
He responded by claiming “a motive hasn’t been identified.”
There has been very little word on the killer’s motivation despite law enforcement very early on announcing they had her “manifesto.” She also left behind alternative plans and detailed drawings of the layout of The Covenant School. But still, there’s no motive.