President Barack Obama compared outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder to Bobby Kennedy, who served in the position during his brother John F. Kennedy’s presidency–a comparison Holder made about himself shortly thereafter.
“Bobby Kennedy once said, ‘on this generation of Americans falls the full burden of proving to the world that we really mean it when we say all men are created free and equal before the law,'” Obama said at a press conference announcing Holder’s resignation.
“As one of the longest-serving attorney generals in American history, Eric Holder has borne that burden. And over the summer, he came to me, and he said he thought six years was a pretty good run. I imagine his family agrees,” the president said.
When Holder took the podium after Obama, he also compared himself to Bobby Kennedy.
“I have loved the Department of Justice ever since as a — as a young boy, I watched Robert Kennedy prove during the civil rights movement how the department can and must always be a force for that which is right,” Holder said. “I hope that I have done honor to the faith that you have placed in me, Mr. President, and the legacy of all those who have served before me.”
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) told Breitbart News in a brief phone interview after the speech, “no it’s not” accurate for Obama and Holder to compare Holder to Bobby Kennedy. King went on:
I just think he’s reaching out to the nostalgia of the Democratic Party. I don’t think it’s legitimate to compare him to Bobby Kennedy or the Kennedy administration. Look, it was a different time and a different era. There was a greater respect for the Constitution and the rule of law within the Kennedy administration than there is within the Obama administration and in Barack Obama himself. It’s night and day. Back then, the Constitution–it meant what it said to most people that were taking an oath to it. This president of the United States has defied his own oath to the Constitution, and I think that renders any of his comments on it illegitimate.
Obama’s speech was filled with praise for Holder, and Holder, in his subsequent remarks, reminisced about his time atop the DOJ.
Obama, speaking directly to Holder – who winked at someone in the audience – said he is “grateful for the support you have given me, and the department, as we have made real the visions that you and I have always shared.”
“I often think of those early talks between us about our belief that we might help to craft a more perfect union. Work remains to be done, but our list of accomplishments is real,” Obama said.
“Over the last six years, our administration, your administration has made historic gains in realizing the principles of the founding documents and fought to protect the most sacred of American rights, the right to vote,” Obama added.
Specifically, Obama praised Holder’s work in favor of amnesty for illegal aliens, his work to undercut the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and his efforts to push voting laws.
Holder praised Valerie Jarrett, whom he said is “my good friend” and whom “I’ve been fortunate to work with from the beginning of what started as an improbable idealistic effort by a young senator from Illinois, who we were both right to believe would achieve greatness.”
Holder said that even though he’s leaving DOJ, he’ll continue to advocate for progressive policies. Holder said:
In the months ahead, I will leave the Department of Justice, but I will never — I will never leave the work. I will continue to serve and try to find ways to make our nation even more true to its founding ideals. I want to thank the dedicated public servants who form the backbone of the United States Department of Justice, for their tireless work over the past six years, for the efforts they will continue, and for the progress that they made and that will outlast — outlast us all.