In the wake of George Floyd’s death last month in Minneapolis and the weeks of civil unrest that followed, both chambers of Congress have worked on competing bills to address police reform.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), however, has gone beyond criticizing the Senate option by accusing Republican senators of “trying to get away with murder” — specifically, the murder of George Floyd, as Breitbart reported.
“What’s the compromise?”
Pelosi’s divisive comment came during a CBS News interview on Tuesday in which she denounced the “unsalvageable” state of compromise between the House proposal and a bill written by Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the Senate’s only black Republican.
“Well, you be the judge,” Pelosi told host Steve Futterman, according to Breitbart. “We’re saying ‘no chokeholds.’ They’re saying ‘maybe.’ I mean, they’re not saying ‘no chokeholds.’ I mean, there’s a big difference.”
Describing several key factors as non-negotiable, the House speaker said she does not see the opportunity for a bipartisan agreement at this point.
“What’s the compromise? ‘Some chokeholds’?” she asked, according to Breitbart. “I don’t see what the compromise is. You know, ‘No racial profiling?’ Maybe ‘some’? So the point, Steve, is the following: They understand that there’s a need to get something done. The press has given them so much play for this bare leaves, unsalvageable piece of legislation, and then say, ‘Well, can’t you compromise with that?’ No, because it is — ‘no.’ And we are, ‘yes.’ It isn’t, ‘maybe.'”
Her line of reasoning ended with a connection between Senate Republicans and the death of Floyd, allegedly at the hands of ex-cop Derek Chauvin.
“And so, in other words, for something to happen, they’re going to have to face the realities of police brutality, and the reality of the need for justice in policing, and the recognition that there are many, many good people in law enforcement — but not all — and that we have to address those concerns,” Pelosi said, as Breitbart reported. “So, when they admit that and have some suggestions that are worthy of consideration — but so far, they were trying to get away with murder, actually. The murder of George Floyd.”
“Far too much credit”
The House speaker faced backlash for the comments almost immediately, and MSNBC News’ Peter Alexander asked her on Wednesday if she would apologize.
“Absolutely, positively not,” Pelosi said, according to a transcript from her office. “The fact is, people say — I think you, frankly, in the press, have given them far too much credit for a bill that does nothing. They’re saying, ‘Well, you have your bill and they have theirs.’ Yeah, our bill does something, theirs does nothing.”
In the wake of Floyd’s death and weeks of protests, the nation seems ready for a sweeping, bipartisan approach to law enforcement reform.
As Pelosi turns the negotiation into a forum to attack Republicans, however, it seems likely that this will be yet another testament to the gridlock and dysfunction that has come to define Congress.