McConnell: Racial Discrimination, Police Accountability 'Certainly Something We Need to Take a Look At'

By Susan Jones | June 3, 2020 | 7:55am EDT
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) (Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) (Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

( - "A lot of Americans are asking what can Congress do about racial discrimination and about police accountability. What can you tell them?" a reporter asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at his news conference on Tuesday:

"Well, it's certain--certainly something that we need to take a look at," McConnell said.

And as we all know, mayors and governors are in the front line when you have these kind of disturbances. I think--in my state, for example, I talked to both the mayor and the governor yesterday. I think they've both done a good job. And we had an easier night last night than we had the night before.

But there may be a role for Congress to play in this as well, and we'll be talking to our colleagues about what, if anything, is appropriate for us to do in the wake of what's going on.

The--the--the--this is--you can understand the outrage. I mean, what happened not only in Minneapolis but in Louisville a couple of months ago, and then there was another killing in Louisville night before last, raises your concern about the grievances and how legitimate they are, and also the appropriateness of the tactics.

So, we--we are in a place right now where any morning we wake up, and last night was not so bad, you feel good. You feel better. I mean, here in Washington, apparently last night was rather smooth, and smooth meaning apparently there were few to no injuries. No one got killed and there was a minimum amount of--of looting. That's--that's a heck of a way to feel like you might have had a good night.

McConnell, pressed on whether he will consider a legislative solution, said, "This is a vexing issue. If--you know, if we could have figured out exactly what to do, I think we'd have done it years ago. It's--it's one of our continuing, persistent problems in our society that we're all acutely aware of and searching for answers to."

In a similar vein, the senator told another reporter, "There is no question that there is residual racism in America, no question about that. It's not in dispute. It's been a longtime dilemma, and we all wish we could get to a better place."

In his opening remarks, McConnell acknowledged that "egregious wrongs have been done" by police officers to some African Americans. He mentioned Breonna Taylor, a Kentucky woman killed by police "in a questionable situation."

"I think it's a statement of the obvious that we all believe in peaceful protest. We all believe these crimes ought to be prosecuted and the criminals brought to justice at the earliest possible moment, and we ought to all be counseling that peaceful protest is what we need, and there's much work still to be done in America with regard to race relations."

McConnell declined to criticize President Trump, saying he would speak for himself, "and I just have."

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