On Wednesday, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) — head of the Congressional Black Caucus — blasted the Senate Judiciary Committee’s decision to have three black members of Congress testify last at Sen. Jeff Sessions’ (R-AL) Tuesday confirmation hearing for attorney general, saying it was the equivalent of being sent to the “back of the bus.”
“First I want to address my concerns about being made to testify at the end of the witness panels,” Richmond said, according to The Hill. “To have a senator, a House member, and living civil rights legend testify at the end of all of this is the equivalent of being made to go to the back of the bus.”
Richmond’s statement hearkened back to Jim Crow laws and summoned images of late civil rights activist Rosa Parks, who on December 1, 1955, famously refused to relinquish her seat to a white man and move to the back of the bus.
Civil rights leader and icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) also testified against Sessions and reportedly agreed with Richmond’s remarks, saying, “I’ve been here almost 30 years and I’ve never seen it like this. But it’s OK, we made our statements.”
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) testified against Sessions as well. However, The Hill noted that he told reporters he did not agree with Richmond’s statement.
“The sad thing is now that Sessions is going to be, should he be confirmed, be the attorney general of the United States, he will work against Chuck Grassley,” Booker reportedly said. “He will work against the reduction of mandatory minimums, he will work against fair policing in this country, he will work against supporting police officers.”
Also on Tuesday, tempers continued to flare over the removal of a controversial painting on Capitol Hill depicting police officers as pigs.
Republicans twice removed the painting that was done by a high school student about a scene between African-Americans and police after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri — only to have it put back up again by Democrats.
Richmond suggested to Politico that the continuous removal of the painting could result in supporters of it getting physical with those who are opposed to it. “We may just have to kick somebody’s ass and stop them,” Richmond reportedly said.
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