Ted Cruz says accusing police of systemic racism is inaccurate and harmful
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) disagreed that there’s systemic racism in policing during Tuesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
“I think some of the rhetoric that has been used in the wake of Mr. Floyd’s killing has been inaccurate and harmful,” Cruz said. “A great many of our colleagues use the phrase systemic racism to suggest that the entire criminal justice system is imbued with racism. I don’t believe that’s accurate.”
Cruz called out his colleague New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker (D) who claimed that nothing had changed in his lifetime to address the killing of unarmed black people by law enforcement.
“That proposition is demonstrably false,” Cruz said, pointing to the end of Jim Crow laws, and segregated schools. “A great deal has changed since then. Our country has made a journey.”
The Texas senator went on to ridicule Democrats by pointing out that all of the state, local and federal elected officials in Minneapolis, where Floyd died, are Democrats.
“I don’t for a moment believe that every one of those elected officials is part of systemic racism and oppression,” Cruz said.
California Sen. Kamala Harris (D) fired back at Cruz saying his speech was a simplistic attack that insults the intelligence of the American people. She took issue with Cruz assuming that Democrats are calling all people racists because they acknowledge historical racism.
“When we say that America has a history of systemic racism, we mean that from slavery, Jim Crow laws, lynchings and policing, our institutions have done violence to black Americans,” Harris said. “And it has caused black Americans to be treated as less than human.”
Both Booker and Harris have been working closely with House Democrats to pass a similar police reform package in the Senate.
Later in the day, Cruz spoke on the Senate floor. He joined other senators in reading Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail.
“This is a time when our country is divided on racial lines in a way it hasn’t been in a long long time,” said Cruz. “And this is a time where we need to hear a call to unity. A call to unity and a call to justice. Dr. King’s call was powerful for both.”
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