Israel: 'Not all' Republican lawmakers racist
By JUANA SUMMERS |
4/13/14 10:06 AM EDT
"Not all" Republican lawmakers are racist, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel said Sunday, responding to a direct question from CNN's Candy Crowley on "State of the Union."
But, the New York Democrat added, "To a significant extent the Republican base does have elements that are animated by racism and that's unfortunate."
Israel's comments came after Crowley brought up remarks by Attorney General Eric Holder. At a speech to a civil-rights group, the attorney general complained about not being treated respectfully by lawmakers at a House Judiciary Committee hearing. Still, Holder said that progress has been made "even in the face of unprecedented, unwarranted, ugly and divisive adversity," citing the hearing as evidence.
While Holder did not explicitly say his treatment was rooted in racism, Crowley said that Holder believes "the treatment he has received in the House...would not have happened if he were not African American."
Crowley also tied in recent comments by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who suggested that Republicans were avoiding an immigration vote because of racial issues.
Democrats are ready to pass an immigration bill, Israel said.
"We'd rather pass an immigration bill than worry about the election. We have 190 Democrats ready to vote on a comprehensive immigration bill today," he said. "We know not every Republican is going to agree with us on that. It passed the Senate with 67 bipartisan vote. All we need is 20 Republicans, just 20 to vote for that bill and it will be law and we don't have to have this debate anymore."
Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, called the comments "both wrong and unfortunate" and said Republicans are focusing on the "executive overreaches by this administration."
"The American people just want to know the truth," the Oregon Republican said. "They want to know the truth about what really happened in the targeting of conservative truths by the IRS, they want to know what happened in Benghazi. They want to know answers, that's all we're trying to do."