President Barack Obama chastised Senate Republicans on Friday for refusing to confirm his attorney general nominee, saying it’s inexcusable to hold Loretta Lynch “hostage” as a bargaining chip for separate legislation.
“You don’t hold attorney general nominees hostage for other issues,” Obama told The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein in a sit-down interview. “This is our top law enforcement office. Nobody denies that she’s well-qualified. We need to go ahead and get her done.”
Lynch’s nomination has been languishing for more than 130 days. This week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) threw up another roadblock, warning that she wouldn’t get a vote until his chamber passes human trafficking legislation. Democrats object to anti-abortion language in the bill.
The president’s comments were essentially a call to arms to Senate Democrats to stand firm rather than surrender to the hostage-takers, i.e., Senate Republicans, on the trafficking bill.
On Wednesday, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) went after his GOP colleagues for the delay in voting on Lynch, suggesting that they were treating her differently because of her race.
“Loretta Lynch, the first African-American woman nominated to be attorney general, is asked to sit in the back of the bus when it comes to the Senate calendar,” said Durbin. “That is unfair. It’s unjust. It is beneath the decorum and dignity of the U.S. Senate.”
“I think race certainly can be considered a major factor in the delay,” said Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, on Tuesday.
Obama, however, was less convinced about Republican motivations.
SOURCE: Amanda Terkel