“Instead of Trying to Tilt the Scales of Justice with Threats, Policymakers Should Focus on Making Policy”
‘Last year, Senator Tim Scott and Senate Republicans tried to pass legislation that would have expanded body cameras, increased transparency in policing, and finally made lynching a federal crime. Our Democratic colleagues used the filibuster to kill it because it was not anti-police enough. Our colleagues on the far left have enough work to do here in the Capitol without trying to dictate to the judicial branch.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Senate business and racial justice:
“Last week the Senate began consideration of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. It’s my understanding that the Democratic Leader hopes a final vote on this bill will occur Wednesday.
“Earnest bipartisan conversations have improved this legislation considerably behind the scenes. Senate Republicans have helped make this bill better. And I am confident that, with a bipartisan process this week that includes votes on Republican amendments, we will be able to continue moving forward together towards the outcome the country deserves.
“Now, on an entirely different matter —
“Last summer, our nation began grappling in a renewed way, with anger and pain, at the fact that our progress toward racial justice remains unfinished.
“Rightly understood, this is not a struggle against our nation’s founding principles and central pillars.
“Rather it is a journey to make America even more faithful to itself. To ensure that life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and equal justice under law are indeed the birthright of every single American.
“Unfortunately, some of last summer’s demonstrations devolved into violent and destructive riots. Small businesses were looted. Civic monuments were defaced, and government buildings attacked. Not just insults, but rocks and Molotov cocktails, were thrown at the good men and women of law enforcement.
“These were efforts to use violence and disorder as political tactics, to influence or overrule our democratic processes and our justice system.
“Now, over the last few weeks, Minneapolis returned to center stage with the trial of the police officer who is accused of killing George Floyd last May.
“Again, the causes of civil rights, equal justice, and the rule of law tell us that this trial and every trial must go forward without social pressure, political considerations, and certainly violent threats playing a role.
“Every single American deserves a fair trial. This is sacred. You do not balance the scales of justice by trying to tip them.
“And yet — this past weekend, one Democratic House member from California took it upon herself to visit with protesters in Minneapolis.
“She said, quote, ‘We’re looking for a guilty verdict.’ Like somebody window-shopping or ordering off a menu. She’s looking for a guilty verdict.
“If that verdict is not reached, the Congresswoman said, demonstrators should ‘not only stay in the street… we’ve got to get more active… get more confrontational… make sure that they know we mean business.’
“It’s harder to imagine anything more inappropriate than a member of Congress flying in from California to inform local leaders, not so subtly, that this defendant had better be found guilty or else there will be big trouble in their streets.
“Again — so much of our nation’s quest for civil rights and equal justice has been the fight to get rid of extra-judicial violence, to get rid of rigged trials where the outcome was molded by public sentiment or angry mobs.
“It is beyond the pale for a sitting member of the United States Congress to look at what happened last summer and imply there should be some kind of a sequel if a legal case does not unfold as she thinks it should.
“Now, just a few hours after those comments, two members of the National Guard who are on site in Minneapolis, keeping the peace, were targeted in a drive-by shooting.
“Thankfully, neither was seriously injured. But let’s hope it doesn’t take an injury or a fatality to remind politicians that their words have consequences.
“Earlier this year, of course, the country heard many strong opinions from Democrats about whether leaders bear responsibility when reckless words precede criminal violence.
“Instead of trying to tilt the scales of justice with threats, policymakers should focus on making policy.
“Last year, Senator Tim Scott and Senate Republicans tried to pass legislation that would have expanded body cameras, increased transparency in policing, and finally made lynching a federal crime.
“Our Democratic colleagues used the filibuster to kill it because it was not anti-police enough.
“Our colleagues on the far left have enough work to do here in the Capitol without trying to dictate to the judicial branch.
Related Issues: Law Enforcement, Senate Democrats