Sen. John Kennedy lashed out at Democrats on Friday after a House member from Georgia accused lawmakers opposed to a voting reform measure of being “racists.”
In particular, the Louisiana Republican directed his remarks to Rep. Hank Johnson, who is black, during an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “The Faulkner Focus” after the Georgia lawmaker made the accusation earlier this week in the wake of a bipartisan vote in the Senate where a majority refused to kill the filibuster rule just to advance the Democrat legislation.
Kennedy said that “the American people are getting pretty tired of being called” racists by Democrats simply for opposing their legislation.
“The Democratic congressman, he takes his cues from his leader, President Biden. I don’t hate anybody. I look for grace wherever I can find it. I have spent time with him. President Biden is a nice guy. He is. Is President Biden a perfect person? No. Does he try to do better every day? Also no. Therein lies the problem,” Kennedy began.
“He keeps trying to stuff more diapers down the toilet,” Kennedy quipped. “He goes down to Georgia two weeks ago and demonstrated raw gut racial demagoguery. And that’s what the congressman is just parroting.
“President Biden basically said to tens of millions of Americans who don’t want to have an election month — they want to have an Election Day — who believe that if you vote, you ought to have to prove you are who you say you are,” the senator continued.
“He basically told all the tens of millions of Americans who believe that that they are Bull Connor, George Wallace racist.”
“Now, it offended me. It offended tens of millions of Americans. I was offended when Vice President Harris, when she was running against President Biden in the primaries, I was offended when she all but called President Biden a racist for not supporting getting 10-year-old kids up at 4:30 in the morning and busing them for two hours,” he added.
“Lots of Americans oppose, black and white opposed the busing. She called him a racist for it. I thought that was racial demagoguery. This is not helping our country at all,” Kennedy continued.
“I will say this: The American people are getting pretty tired of being called a racist or a traitor or a Nazi because they don’t agree with the president’s woke neosocialist agenda. And that is why his poll numbers are on a journey to the center of the earth. And he needs to stop it,” he said.
One of two Democratic senators to vote to preserve the filibuster was Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who slammed his party during a pre-vote speech on Wednesday for attempting to ditch the rule, which requires 60 votes to move legislation.
“I cannot support such a perilous course for this nation when elected leaders are sent to Washington to unite our country, not to divide our country,” the senator said.
“Let this change happen in this way, and the Senate will be a body without rules,” he said.
“We’ve changed the rules,” in the past, Manchin said. “But we changed them with the rules. We didn’t break the rules to change the rules. But all of a sudden now we just can’t do it anymore. Just got to blow it up,” he said.
“The rule book means that the rules changes are done on the basis of broad, bipartisan consensus, not imposed on the minority by raw majority power,” he explained. “No matter who is in power.”
The other Senate Democrat who voted to preserve the filibuster was Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, though she said she backs the Democratic bill.
“There’s no need for me to restate my longstanding support for the 60-vote threshold to pass legislation. There’s no need for me to restate its role in protecting our country from wild reversals of federal policy,” she said. “This week’s harried discussions about Senate rules are but a poor substitute for what I believe could have and should have been a thoughtful public debate at any time over the past year.”