The White House welcomes "any strong signals by anybody in this country" looking to combat domestic violence, press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday after being questioned about the Baltimore Ravens' decision to cut star running back Ray Rice.
On Monday, a video of Rice punching and knocking unconscious his then-fiancee inside an Atlantic City, N.J., elevator surfaced. Rice had been previously suspended for two games over the incident, for which he was arrested.
Earnest said that he wasn't sure whether President Obama had seen the video but knew he was "aware of the situation."
The spokesman declined to comment specifically on the Rice case, but said, "this administration and this president do believe strongly that the scourge of violence against women needs to be combated."
"You have seen the president and vice president make very forceful comments about how important it is for men, in particular, to step up and step forward," Earnest said, adding that violence against women "is not and cannot be tolerated."
Vice President Biden was slated to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act on Tuesday.
Before news that the Ravens had terminated Rice's contract broke, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called for a stronger penalty.
“The video released today emphasizes how egregiously weak and wrong the initial penalty against Ray Rice was — as the commissioner has acknowledged — and it constitutes new, powerful evidence that requires the commissioner to reconsider and reach a stronger punishment,” Blumenthal said in a statement.