A Biden nominee who has been zealous about painting the United States as a biased, racist nation, danced around her own words last week when confronted with them during her confirmation hearing.
Vanita Gupta has been nominated to be associate attorney general in the Department of Justice. However, as noted by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, she has used Twitter as a platform to equate Republicans with racists.
“Her Twitter feed has painted Republicans with a broad brush, describing our national convention last year as three nights of quote-unquote ‘racism, xenophobia, and outrageous lies,'” Grassley said last week, according to Fox News.
“How many of our colleagues in this room were there? Of course, Ms. Gupta has, in fact, launched Twitter attacks on some of them directly. Will that kind of partisan political advocacy affect her legal advocacy in her role where she represents all Americans?”
And @JohnCornyn probably hasn’t made the connection, but he was Texas state AG when he gave a corrupt officer the Lawman of the Year award for a set of bogus drug convictions that my team and I ultimately overturned in Tulia, TX in 2003.
For more on this: https://t.co/ZXmwRXKpuU
— Vanita Gupta (@vanitaguptaCR) June 17, 2020
During the hearing, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas homed in on comments Gupta smugly defended on Twitter last year that said, in essence, that all Americans are biased.
“Last summer, nine months ago, you were in front of this committee and Senator Cornyn said, ‘Do you believe that all Americans are racist?’ You replied, ‘Yes, I think that we all have implicit biases and racial biases. Yes, I do.’ So, Ms. Gupta, I ask you, against which races do you harbor racial bias?” Cotton said, according to The Daily Wire.
(Gupta’s quote from June, as was reported at the time by The Washington Times, matched Cotton’s description.)
Gupta then tried to reframe her comments.
“Senator Cotton, I do not — the yes was to say that all of us have implicit bias,” Gupta said.
“This was an exchange also that Judge Garland had with Senator Kennedy during his hearing. I believe that we all have implicit bias. It doesn’t mean that we are harboring any racism at all. These are unconscious assumptions and stereotypes that can get made. And I remember that summer in the exchange with Senator Cornyn that we were discussing systemic racism and implicit bias, and my response was to say that all of us have implicit bias,” she said.
Cotton then asked her again that — if everyone has biases — to explain the parameters of her own biases.
“Well, to be precise, you said we all have implicit biases and racial biases,” Cotton replied. “That’s all. Every single American you accused of implicit bias and racial bias. So, I’m asking you again, against which races do you harbor racial bias?”
But Gupta danced around an answer.
“I am quite aware that I know that I hold stereotypes that I have to manage,” Gupta said.
“I’m a product of my culture. I’m a product — it’s part of the human condition, and I believe that one of the reasons, I believe that all of us are able to manage implicit bias, but only if we can acknowledge our own, and I am not above anyone else in that matter. I think implicit bias is something that is part of the shared human condition,” she said, without offering specifics.
Cotton also wanted to know that since Gupta had said every institution in America was touched by institutional racism, “does the Biden White House suffer from institutional racism?”
A dissertation about slavery followed.
“Senator, given the history of this country, of slavery and the long period of Jim Crow, and the ongoing scourge of racial discrimination, I think that it is — remains very much a live problem in America today. And that the effort to address racial discrimination in all of its forms — discrimination of any sorts — is something that all of us have to work at in the institutions we are a part of.
“And one of the reasons why I will be honored to return to the Justice Department, if confirmed, is that the Justice Department was actually founded on this objective of ensuring equal justice before the law. And the laws that Congress has enacted, through the sacrifice and loss of life of black Americans and Americans writ large, that is a, kind of, core function of the Justice Department is to enforce our federal civil rights laws and to fight discrimination where it happens for all Americans,” she said.
Cotton reflected his annoyance with Gupta as he concluded his time.
“I’ll just have the record reflect, I asked you simply, ‘Does the Biden White House suffer from institutional racism?’ and you didn’t want to respond,” Cotton said.
“I’ll just say that I don’t think you harbor racial bias towards any racial group or that you believe the Biden White House suffers from institutional racism, but when you throw around allegations that every single American suffers from racial bias and every single institution suffers from institutional racism, you open yourself up to these kinds of questions by condemning your fellow Americans without individualized evidence of their beliefs, their words, or their deeds.
“I think these statements were beyond the pale. I don’t think really anybody truly believes them, nor should they be believed because they are so preposterous,” he said.
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