McKinney Won't Address 'Specifics of the Incident'

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:31 PM EDT

( - The congresswoman who allegedly hit a Capitol Police officer in the chest with her cell phone made a round a TV appearances Wednesday morning, but she refused to discuss what happened.

Instead, Rep. Cynthia McKinney -- in full damage-control mode -- mentioned "racial profiling" and tried to convey what a good job she is doing for her Georgia constituents.

The Georgia Democrat told Fox & Friends she has received "literally hundreds of phone calls from all over the country. We've received words of encouragement and support...because people of the Fourth Congressional District know that this is a congresswoman...who works for them every day."

McKinney's attorney James Myart cut into the interview at one point, saying his client would not comment on "the specifics of the incident" because "the matter is under investigation by the U.S. Attorney." But Myart did say the issue is "larger" than Cynthia McKinney and the Congress.

"What I have suggested is that the issue of racial profiling needs to be one that is discussed and dealt with by the American people," McKinney told Fox & Friends.

She said 39 young black people from Georgia came to one of her Washington press conferences -- and "had a very, very negative experience with the Capitol Police."

But other lawmakers aren't going there.

In fact, Democratic leaders distanced themselves from McKinney on Tuesday. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, said to have a frosty relationship with McKinney, was quoted as saying that if McKinney did hit a police officer, "I don't think it was justified."

Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.), the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, had no comment on McKinney's alleged run-in with police.

Asked why her fellow Democrats aren't supporting McKinney, Myart explained it this way:

"Members of Congress, including the Congressional Black Caucus as well as the Hispanic Black Caucus [sic], are very bright people. They know, too, that when there is a pending investigation, that they should not make comments, and that's exactly what is happening."

The retiring Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) on Wednesday said anyone who would attack a Capitol Police officer should be punished.

He said one of those officers died protecting his office, so he has a "special place in my heart" for them.

Asked if other black lawmakers have the same race issues that McKinney does, DeLay told Fox & Friends, "Cynthia McKinney is a racist. She has a long history of racism. Everything is racism with her." DeLay called her "incredibly arrogant."

On Tuesday, the youngest member of Congress -- Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) -- introduced a resolution commending the Capitol Police for their professionalism. McHenry said police stop him all the time, because he looks so young.

"I don't think it's fair to attack the Capitol Police, and I think it's time that we show our support for them," McHenry was quoted as saying.

See Earlier Stories:
Capitol Police Chief Speaks About McKinney Altercation (3 Apr. 2006)
McKinney Case Submitted to Federal Prosecutors (3 Apr. 2006)

Subscribe to the free daily E-Brief.

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.