May 12, 2022

Durbin: If Republicans are Concerned About the Safety of Public Officials, Where is their Outrage for the January 6 Insurrection?

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called out Republicans for their hypocrisy in condemning violence and threats of violence against judges while failing to hold the January 6 perpetrators accountable.  Specifically, Durbin referenced the unwillingness Republicans have shown to investigate the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, which threatened the lives of Members of Congress, law enforcement, and staff.

“There have been complaints this week about demonstrations in front of the homes of Justices and others.  I've made my position clear.  I think that such demonstrations are totally unnecessary, unwise, and should be discouraged,” Durbin said.  “Democrats and Republicans agree that we have to be serious about protecting those who are elected to public office at every level from harassment, intimidation, and, above all, from any violence.  I [also] condemn those attacks on antiabortion organizations in two states—Wisconsin and Oregon.”

Durbin continued, “Having said that, I beg my Republican colleagues to show some consistency.  I was here January 6, 2021, when this insurrectionist mob inspired by President Trump came up, crashed down the windows and floors into this Capitol and marched on this chamber…  People died…  150 law enforcement officials were attacked.  And how did the Republicans respond to that?  Senator McConnell personally stopped any effort at a bipartisan commission to determine what caused that attack and how to avoid it in the future.”  

This week, the Senate unanimously passed the Supreme Court Police Parity Act, bipartisan legislation led by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and John Cornyn (R-TX).  But, notably, this is not the first time the Senate has attempted to pass bipartisan legislation addressing violence, or threats of violence, against public officials.  In May 2021, during a vote to establish an independent commission to investigate the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Senate Republicans staged their first filibuster of the Biden Administration.  The proposed commission—modeled after the one established to investigate the 9/11 terror attacks, with 10 commissioners equally divided between the two parties—thereby failed by a vote of 54 to 35, despite passing with bipartisan support in the House.

Durbin concluded, “What did the Republican National Committee say in an official release about the January 6, 2021, insurrectionist mob who crashed through the Capitol here, desecrating it and endangering the lives of innocent people?  What did they say about it?  They called it legitimate political discourse…  Whether the intended victims were Members of Congress, or the victims today are members of the Supreme Court—have the good sense, I say to my Republican colleagues, to be consistent.  If you're opposed to violence and believe it's unacceptable in a democratic society, make that standard apply whether the victims are in one branch of the government or another.  It is absolutely unacceptable in both.”

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations.

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