Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Anniversary Of The Murder Of George Floyd And The Expected Confirmation Of Kristen Clarke To Lead The DOJ Civil Rights Division Later Today

May 25, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the first anniversary of the murder of George Floyd and the expected confirmation of Kristen Clarke to lead the Justice Department Civil Rights Division later today. Leader Schumer also condemned comments from a Republican congresswoman comparing preparations taken to combat the COVID pandemic to the Holocaust. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

This morning, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican Congresswoman from Georgia, once again compared preparations taken against COVID to the Holocaust. These are sickening, reprehensible comments, and she should stop this vile language immediately.

Now, a year ago today, George Floyd was murdered in broad daylight by a police officer sworn to protect and serve.

Our country was forever changed by the stomach-churning video of Derek Chauvin killing Mr. Floyd. It sparked a summer of protest unlike any we’ve seen in American history. Around the world, the name of George Floyd was chanted in Rome, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Berlin and Mexico City. As recently as this weekend, professional soccer players in the British Premier League knelt before the game in support of the global movement against racism touched off by George Floyd.

This was not only a fight for justice for one man and his family, who I’ve had the privilege to meet with, but a fight against the discrimination that Black men and women suffer at the hands of state power, not just here in America, but around the globe.

It’s a fight that continues today.

And here in the Senate, we will continue that fight when we vote to confirm the first woman, and the first Black woman, to ever lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, which was created in 1957 as the Civil Rights Movement began to uphold the constitutional rights of all Americans, but particularly the most vulnerable. When it comes to justice in policing, the criminal justice system, and at the ballot box, the civil rights division is often the tip of the spear: conducting investigations of police departments with patterns or practices of constitutional violations and defending the fundamental voting rights of every American citizen.

So, in a way, as we continue to pursue strong policing reform legislation, it is appropriate that we confirm Kristen Clarke, a proven civil rights leader, to the position of Assistant Attorney General, where she can continue the fight against bigotry in many ways. It is appropriate we do it today.

Though my Republican colleagues have tried to twist her words to make her sound like some radical, Ms. Clarke is—in reality—a hugely accomplished civil rights attorney who has earned the respect of all sides. Much like her future colleague at the Justice Department, Vanita Gupta, Kristen Clarke has been endorsed by a wide range of law enforcement groups. The truth is, Ms. Clarke will make an exceptional leader of the civil rights division.

So again: in a very significant way, as we continue to pursue strong policing reform legislation, the Senate can continue the fight for racial justice by confirming Ms. Kristen Clarke on the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder.

Of course, Congress must also pursue strong legislation to end racial bias in law enforcement. Senators Booker and Scott, as well as Representative Bass and others, have been working diligently behind the scenes to fashion such a bill, on a bipartisan basis. That important work must continue as we strive to ensure to George Floyd’s tragic death will not be in vain.