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'A dark day for America:' Shapiro blasts immunity ruling, vows support for Biden

Gov. Josh Shapiro comments on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that offers former President Donald Trump limited immunity against criminal charges in the Jan. 6 riot case. Shapiro spoke at a Dunmore senior citizens high-rise where he touted the distribution of property tax and rent rebates. Behind Shapiro, from left, are state Sen. Marty Flynn, U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, high-rise manager Melissa Mitchko and high-rise resident JoAnne Rinaldi, who received a rebate.
Borys Krawczeniuk
/
WVIA News
Gov. Josh Shapiro comments on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that offers former President Donald Trump limited immunity against criminal charges in the Jan. 6 riot case. Shapiro spoke at a Dunmore senior citizens high-rise where he touted the distribution of property tax and rent rebates. Behind Shapiro, from left, are state Sen. Marty Flynn, U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, high-rise manager Melissa Mitchko and high-rise resident JoAnne Rinaldi, who received a rebate.

Gov. Josh Shapiro gave full-throated backing Monday to President Joe Biden’s reelection while sharply criticizing a Supreme Court ruling that offers President Donald Trump limited immunity from his Jan. 6 riot charges.

Shapiro was asked about Biden’s shaky debate performance and the court ruling during an appearance at a Dunmore senior citizens high rise where he touted recently mailed property tax and rent rebates for elderly and low-income people.

On the Supreme Court ruling, Shapiro said the United States was built on the belief that no one is above the law.

“I think this is a dark day for America, holding that now there is at least one person who is above the law,” Shapiro said.

The court said Trump, charged with conspiring to block Biden’s confirmation by Congress, might have immunity if he acted in his official capacity.

Ruling critics immediately said that means a president could commit a crime and be immune from prosecution if he or she acted in their official capacity.

The governor agreed. He said the nation broke away from tyranny almost 250 years ago and “from a world where certain people were above the law."

“And throughout the last 247 years, we have oft repeated that no one is above the law,” Shapiro said. “Today, sadly, the Supreme Court of the United States ended that and broke away from that bond of a quality that has fostered the growth of this nation, and has kept this nation together over two and a half centuries.”

Shapiro: Biden is 'clear choice'

Some political observers have suggested Shapiro might replace Biden as the Democrats’ presidential candidate. That’s if Biden is somehow defeated at the party’s nominating convention or steps aside because of his trouble speaking at times during the debate Thursday against Trump.

Shapiro made it clear he wants Biden to stay in the race.

“Well, look, Joe Biden had a bad debate night, and Donald Trump was a bad president and would be a bad president,” Shapiro said. “And nothing about Thursday night's debate changed the fact that there is a clear choice in this race."

Biden, Shapiro said, is "someone who wants to expand and protect our freedoms, someone who wants to continue to invest in places like northeastern Pennsylvania, someone who is a good, honest, decent, moral human being who acts with integrity. “

Trump, he said, is "someone who ripped away the freedom of millions of women across Pennsylvania and across this country, someone who's promised to take away more of our freedoms, someone who wants to inject more chaos into our living rooms, into our economy into our lives, someone who wants to screw over the middle class through his policies."

"I'm going to do everything in my political power to make sure Joe Biden is reelected president,” Shapiro said.

Pa. budget process

Shapiro also sounded hopeful that he and state legislative leaders will agree on a state budget. The budget was supposed to be in place by Sunday, but the governor said it should be soon.

“We worked our tails off this weekend,” he said. “Everybody has been working around the clock, we are deep in the red zone. And I expect that we will get this done very soon.”

Red zone refers to an offense in football nearing a touchdown.

He credited Democratic and Republican leaders for embracing compromise, but declined to detail what the compromise might look like.

Shapiro, a Democrat, has called for sharp increases in spending, especially on education, while Republican leaders for weeks sought sharp cuts in the state income tax and a gross receipts tax on electricity.

“If the people of Pennsylvania could have seen just how constructive everyone was being on both sides of the aisle, I think they would have been proud of their state government,” he said.

Borys joins WVIA News from The Scranton Times-Tribune, where he served as an investigative reporter and covered a wide range of political stories. His work has been recognized with numerous national and state journalism awards from the Inland Press Association, Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors, Society of Professional Journalists and Pennsylvania Newsmedia Association.

You can email Borys at boryskrawczeniuk@wvia.org