President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with the George Floyd family by phone shortly after the guilty verdicts were read against ex-cop Derek Chauvin in Floyd’s murder.
Floyd family attorney Ben Crump tweeted a video with audio of the president’s comments.
“Nothing is going to make it better, but at least now there’s some justice,” Biden told a group of Floyd family members and supporters.
“President Joe Biden called to talk about what a moment this was for America and how we have to use this moment to build on,” Crump said at a press conference with family members.
Biden said, “We are all a better America today,” according to Crump.
Biden will address the nation Tuesday evening over the guilty verdicts for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted on all counts for murdering George Floyd.
Biden said earlier Tuesday that he was “praying” for conviction as the jury deliberated.
The guilty verdict won bipartisan praise in Washington, and relief across the country due to the presumed reduced risk of violent civil unrest after widespread riots last year after Floyd died.
“I’m standing here with Cedric [Richmond]. We’ve been talking, we’ve been watching every second of this, and the vice president, all of us. And I’m just, we’re all so relieved. Not just one guilty, but all three — guilty on all three counts. And it’s really important.”
Biden added, “This is going to give us a shot at dealing with genuine systemic racism.” As a senator, Biden authored harsh drug laws that critics say fueled systemic racism.
Harris told the family on the call from the Oval Office, “This is a day of justice in America and your family has been real leaders at this moment when we needed you.”
Harris added, “In George’s name and memory, we are going to make sure his legacy is intact, and the history will look back at this moment and know that it was an inflection moment.”
Biden said in apparent response to a male speaker urging passage of a Democratic police reform bill, “you better all get ready, because when we do it, we’re going to put you on Air Force One to get you here… I guarantee it.”
The police reform bill stalled in Congress when Democrats would not compromise with Republicans pushing a less-far-reaching police reform authored by Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC).
Biden also spoke with Gov. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) after the jury verdict, the White House said.
Biden’s statement earlier in the day that he was praying for conviction drew condemnation from pundits and scrutiny from reporters, who pressed White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on the wisdom of his remarks after the judge in the case called on politicians to stop commenting on the pending outcome.