By Mollie Reilly
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) says Senate Republicans would signal that their opposition to President Barack Obama is rooted in racism if they fail to confirm attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch.
On Wednesday, Cleaver told Bloomberg Politics that the fight over Lynch has “forced [him] to face the reality that we are not where we thought” on race relations.
“It would be yet another sign that the chasm we thought was narrowing is in fact just as it was before we entered into this new millennium as it relates to issues of race,” he said. “For many minorities, Latinos and African Americans, it would be just another contemporary sign that we have not moved as far as we had hoped.”
“Something is wrong and I feel it and see it and think if the president’s [attorney general] nomination fails, I think for many it will be just another sign,” said Cleaver, who chaired the Congressional Black Caucus from 2011 to 2013.
Lynch, whom Obama nominated in November to succeed outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, would be the first black woman to serve as the nation’s top cop. Although her nomination cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, her confirmation vote has been placed on hold amid Senate disagreements over unrelated bills.