Schumer says he misspoke in remarks directed at two Supreme Court justices, defends abortion rights – The Washington Post, The Washington Post

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) said Thursday that he misspoke when he said that two justices appointed by President Trump to the Supreme Court would “pay the price” for a vote against abortion rights, but he defended his passion on the issue, saying his anger reflected that of “women across America.”

Schumer’s remarks on the Senate floor came a day after his comments at a rally outside the Supreme Court prompted a rare rebuke of a sitting member of Congress by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who said in a statement that “threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous.”

“I should not have used the words I used yesterday . They didn’t come out the way I intended them to, ”Schumer told Senate colleagues Thursday. “I’m from Brooklyn. We speak in strong language. I shouldn’t have used the words I did, but in no way was I making a threat. I never – never – would do such a thing. ”

Schumer said he was expressing frustration that Republicans are trying to use the courts to restrict abortion rights in a fashion that they cannot accomplish in Congress .

“Republicans are afraid, here in the Senate, to confront this issue directly, so they try to accomplish through the courts what they’d never accomplish in the court of public opinion. And they leave women out in the cold, ”Schumer said. “So yes, I am angry. The women of America are angry. And, yes, we will continue to fight for a woman’s right to choose. ”

Speaking to abortion rights supporters Wednesday morning as the Supreme Court heard arguments in an important abortion case from Louisiana, Schumer called out Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh by name.

“I want to tell you, Gorsuch; I want to tell you, Kavanaugh: You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price, ”Schumer said. “You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”

The comments prompted widespread condemnation from Republicans – including President Trump – as well as some liberals.

Speaking shortly before Schumer on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Called Schumer’s comments “astonishingly reckless.”

“The minority leader of the United States Senate threatened two associate justices of the US Supreme Court, period, ”McConnell said during remarks on the Senate floor. “There’s no other way to interpret that.”

McConnell also dismissed a later statement by Schumer that his remarks were aimed at Republicans more broadly and not the justices.

“Perhaps he would like the most generous possible interpretation that he got carried away and did not mean what he said,” McConnell said. “But if he didn’t even admit to saying what he said, we certainly cannot know what he meant. At the very best, his comments were astonishingly, astonishingly reckless. ”

Trump also weighed in again anew on Thursday morning, tweeting:“ Schumer has brought great danger to the steps of the United States Supreme Court! ”

Schumer’s remarks also drew rebukes from some liberals, including Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe.

“ These remarks by @ SenSchumer were inexcusable , ”He tweeted. “Chief Justice Roberts was right to call him on his comments. I hope the Senator, whom I’ve long admired and consider a friend, apologizes and takes back his implicit threat. It’s beneath him and his office. ”

Republicans sought to capitalize on the episode.

In a statement Thursday morning, the National Republican Senatorial Committee called on Democratic candidates supported by Schumer the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to speak out.

“Chuck Schumer’s reprehensible attack on Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh was met by predictable silence from the Democratic candidates Schumer’s DSCC and other dark money entities are spending millions to elect, ”NRSC spokesman Jesse Hunt said.

“ Every single DSCC-backed candidate beholden to Schumer’s money machine should demonstrate a degree of decency and disavow the dangerous attack on our independent judiciary. ”

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