See below for video of Sen. Mark Warner’s comments earlier today, in a call with the media. Among other things, Sen. Warner said:
- The murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis “must concern all of us,” wasn’t an isolated case, and demonstrates the urgent need for justice, particularly for “black and brown Americans.”
- Couple this violence with COVID-19, which has “disproportionately hit African-American and Latino communities…has resulted in a level of economic harm that’s unprecedented.”
- As people across the country “called out this outrage…unfortunately, President Trump again saw this as an opportunity to divide the nation.” “What happened the other day with the president used force, gas to disrupt peaceful protesters to basically go to a photo op in front of a church…was stunning. The fact that he manipulated the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and used them as tools for his photo-op was disgraceful. Our country deserves better than this…”
- He’s working on criminal justice reform, provide economic support to communities of color.
- He’s also working on legislation to revitalize our national parks, address the $12 billion backlog in funding. Legislation will come to the floor next week on this and also the land/water conservation fund...”the most significant piece of environmental legislation in 50 years,” and has “overwhelming bipartisan support.”
- On Trump’s reaction to General Mattis slamming him, for good reason, Warner said: “Well, President Trump’s reaction…is typical; it’s petty…not the actions you’d expect coming out of the office of President of the United States…The thing that is so unsettling…is this president’s constant disregard of the law, of the rules, his claim that he can use the Insurrection Act…This president makes threats, most of which are not based in fact or law.”
- Protesters look like “the face of America…the young face of America.” Congress needs to listen to those voices, also the police chiefs who are joining the protests.
- On the Lee statue coming down, and why it’s taken so long, Warner said “in light of the moment…I think it’s time…to take them down…I think the vast majority of Virginians will understand that.”