Senate Republicans Meet Black Woman Biden Nominee, Betcha Can't Guess What Happened Next
Wednesday saw the latest chapter in Senate Republicans' war on all Joe Biden nominees who are women, racial minorities, or both. And for the second time in a week, we get to call Texas GOP Senator John Cornyn a goddamned moron.
Kristen Clarke is President Biden's insanely qualified nominee to head the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice, and if confirmed, she will be the first Black woman to serve in the job. She's a fierce civil rights lawyer, a staunch advocate for voting rights, and even has the support of institutional cop groups like the Major Cities Chiefs Association. The New York Times has more on her qualifications:
She rejected a corporate law job to join the Justice Department, working in the Civil Rights Division during the George W. Bush administration. She worked at the voting rights project at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and at the Civil Rights Bureau in the New York attorney general's office, where she led an initiative to protect the right of Jewish employees to observe the Sabbath and religious holidays.
In 2015, Ms. Clarke became the leader of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, an organization formed during the civil rights movement.
She sounds like exactly the person who should be running the Civil Rights Division at DOJ.
So of course Republicans have decided to present her as a cop-hating radical who hates all white people. You're either with the Republicans or you fight for civil rights and voting rights these days. You can't be both.
The moment in Wednesday's confirmation hearing that went viral was Senator John Cornyn trying to GOTCHA! Clarke over an article she wrote while studying at Harvard, where she wrote that Black people are genetically superior to white people. What confused Cornyn, clearly, was that it was obvious satire. Indeed, it was a response to The Bell Curve, which was co-written by a Harvard professor, and which explicitly argued for the superiority of white people. She was president of the Black Students Association. She wrote a fun response about how clearly Black people are the superior ones, and here's why.
And yet here was Cornyn, asking with a straight face, "Well, maybe there's a misprint, but I'm sure you can clear it up for me, dating back to your days in school when you seemed to argue that African-Americans were genetically superior to Caucasians." He added, "Is that correct?"
No, you mouthbreathing idiot, it is not correct. But we'll let Clarke's answer do the talking:
John Cornyn grills assistant attorney general nominee Kristen Clarke about an article she wrote for her college pap… https://t.co/J03goEg7rs— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1618413876.0
We could transcribe Clarke's full answer, but you really should watch it for yourself, to see how gently she tried to clear up his confusion, and also you should look at Cornyn's confused dumbfucking white face after she finished talking.
Fox News, clearly not wanting to admit how hard Cornyn had stepped on his dick, headlined its piece on the exchange thusly:
Biden DOJ nominee Kristen Clarke defends past controversial writings on race
OK. You fucking white-hooded assclowns.
And that's how the hearing went, at least from the Republican side.
Dahlia Lithwick has a wonderful roundup of the Republicans own-goaling themselves to prove what a very big white-person-hating radical Clarke is. For instance, it has GOP Senator Mike Lee badgering Clarke and suggesting she had something to do with the DOJ in 2008 deciding not to prosecute the New Black Panthers (wingnut scare words, drink!), when in fact she did not work at DOJ then. It has Lee reading Clarke a list of things she has called racist, to try to GOTCHA! her into admitting ... something. (Republicans don't believe institutional racism exists, so they're not good at interpreting past statements about it.) Clarke kinda told his question to go fuck itself, but very politely.
Tom Cotton was a real white supremacist ass, speaking of senators who attack women of color in confirmation hearings for calling out institutional racism. He just really wanted Clarke to say Officer Darren Wilson was right to murder Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and blatantly misrepresented the positions of former Attorney General Eric Holder and current Biden woman of color DOJ nominee Vanita Gupta, to make it sound like they also thought Wilson was right to shoot that Black man.
Tom Cotton is unhappy about comments Kristen Clarke has made suggesting that cops who shoot Black people should be… https://t.co/i7jp9LoN7V— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1618415744.0
Read Dahlia Lithwick's whole piece when you're done here. Pretty much all the white Republican men were absolute racist garbage. Want Ted Cruz angrily misrepresenting an op-ed on police reform Clarke wrote and accusing her of wanting to defund the whole entire police, in response to which Clarke had to explain that she didn't actually write Newsweek's headline herself? It's got that. Want Josh Hawley coming up with a way to accuse Clarke of hating Jewish people? It's got that.
It's clear, as usual with the current Republican Party, that Clarke's only infraction is being a Black woman who isn't willing to confirm their racist biases, a la Candace Owens.
(It's also notable that Cotton, Cruz, and Hawley also spent their Wednesday being half of the only six US senators to vote against advancing Senator Mazie Hirono's bill to address anti-Asian discrimination and hate. You know, in case you were worried they were only racist once yesterday.)
Who Gave Them These Ideas? Hint, It Rhymes With 'Fucker'
You will be absolutely shocked to learn that the marching orders to attack this particular Black women appear to come directly from Tucker Carlson, who has been very fixated on Clarke ever since her nomination was announced.
As Farah Stockman explains in the New York Times, Tucker has had at least six full segments in the past couple months devoted to attacking Clarke. The bullshit about her op-ed from when she was at Harvard, which John Cornyn publicly stuck his head up his ass about just above? Tucker. The thing about her secretly hating Jews? Tucker.
For the record, Stockman notes that "[t]he Jewish Council for Public Affairs, a network of 125 Jewish community relation councils and 16 national Jewish agencies, recently sent a letter to the Senate calling "attempts to focus on purported anti-Semitism during her confirmation process to be inappropriate, pretextual and baseless." It's kind of funny since Tucker Carlson is currently doubling down on his white supremacist Replacement Theory bullshit, that we are supposed to think Kristen Clarke is the one being anti-Semitic and racist.
More on Tucker's attacks on Clarke, as explained by Irin Carmon at New York mag:
Maureen Faulkner, the widow of the Philadelphia police officer whom activist Mumia Abu-Jamal was convicted of killing in 1982, was a guest on the show. Clarke, said Carlson, had "worked very hard to get Abu-Jamal free. Clarke even referred to him as a 'political prisoner.'" Faulkner went for it. "She hates white people, that's my honest to god true feeling. And she wants to defund the police. She's a vile woman. And she's dangerous."
None of this is true. Clarke never worked on Jamal's case; she did work at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which argued one of his appeals, but she worked exclusively on voting rights, according to a source close to her. She also never called Jamal a political prisoner. The source, if you can call it that, for the smear appears to be Clarke being listed as a contact for a 1999 conference at Columbia Law School sponsored by the Institute for Research in African American Studies, where she was a student at the time, that included a panel called "In Defense of Mumia," and a separate one on Black political prisoners; neither featured Clarke.
But hey, whatever keeps the racist white people in their seats drinking up the white supremacist swill.
It's appalling that the audience for that also includes so many sitting Republican senators, but it's not surprising anymore.
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