White House press secretary Jen Psaki took a harsher tone regarding abortion rights protests outside Supreme Court justices' homes a day after urging peace and calm.
Psaki compared criticism of the protests, which could breach Maryland and Virginia ordinances discouraging demonstrations outside private residences, to relative "silence" over women being badgered outside abortion clinics or the Jan. 6 sacking of the Capitol.
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"What’s also important to note here is what I would call the hypocrisy of the silence on the other side when there has been intimidation outside of the homes of school board members, the Michigan secretary of state," she told reporters Tuesday, additionally citing protests against COVID-19 mitigation strategies early in the pandemic.
Psaki downplayed the idea that the White House's rhetoric change was in reaction to anxiety over a particular upcoming protest, emphasizing that the demonstrations had been "peaceful to date, and we certainly continue to encourage that outside of judges' homes." But she also underscored President Joe Biden's message against "ultra-MAGA" Republicans, referencing former President Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan.
"Given two-thirds of the American people, according to a Fox News poll, believe that Roe v. Wade should be protected, if you're on the other side of that, you're supporting an ultra-MAGA position, in the president's view," she said.
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Pro-abortion protests have been staged outside the Maryland homes of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, as well as their Virginia-based colleague Justice Samuel Alito, since a draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked. Vandalism has been reported, too, against a Colorado church and a Wisconsin anti-abortion group's headquarters since the draft decision was circulated last week.