Schumer Admits 'I Should Not Have Used the Words I Used Yesterday,' But Blames Republicans


Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer conceded he exercised poor word choice when he called out Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh on the steps of the Supreme Court Wednesday, but went on to blame Republicans for “manufacturing outrage” over his comments.

Speaking at a rally for abortion rights supporters as the Supreme Court heard a case regarding the issue, Schumer turned toward the courtroom and said, “I want to tell you Gorsuch. I want to tell you Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”

The condemnation of Schumer’s comments was swift, including from Chief Justice John Roberts.

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“Senator Schumer referred to two Members of the Court by name and said he wanted to tell them that ‘You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You will not know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions,’” Roberts said in a statement.

“Justices know that criticism comes with the territory, but threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous. All members of the court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter.”

American Bar Association president Judy Perry Martinez was also “deeply troubled” by Schumer’s words.

“Whatever one thinks about the merits of an issue before a court, there is no place for threats — whether real or allegorical,” she said in a statement. “Personal attacks on judges by any elected officials, including the President, are simply inappropriate. Such comments challenge the reputation of the third, co-equal branch of our government; the independence of the judiciary; and the personal safety of judicial officers. They are never acceptable.”

Do you think Schumer threatened Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh?

In a Wednesday tweet, liberal Harvard Law School constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe also sided with Roberts and called for Schumer to apologize.

“These remarks by @SenSchumer were inexcusable,” Tribe wrote. “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.”

Wednesday evening, Schumer’s spokesman Justin Goodman issued a statement saying the senator meant that Republicans would pay a “political price” for putting Gorsuch and Kavanaugh on the court, The Hill reported.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was not buying that explanation, saying from the Senate floor Thursday morning, “There is nothing to call this except a threat, and there is absolutely no question to whom, to whom it was directed.”

“Contrary to what the Democratic leader has since tried to claim, he very very clearly was not addressing Republican lawmakers or anyone else,” McConnell added.

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“The minority leader of the United States Senate threatened two associate justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, period. There’s no other way to interpret that,” he said.

Schumer responded to the controversy later on Thursday morning stating McConnell made a “glaring omission” by not mentioning the minority leader’s remarks came in the context of the Supreme Court case potentially impacting women’s ability to obtain abortions.

“Now I should not have used the words I used yesterday,” Schumer said from the Senate floor. “They didn’t come out the way I intended to.”

“My point was that there would be political consequences, political consequences for President (Donald) Trump and Senate Republicans if the Supreme Court, with the newly confirmed justices, stripped away a woman’s right to choose,” he continued.

Schumer then accused Republicans of manufacturing outrage and distorting his comments.

“Of course I didn’t intend to suggest anything other than political and public opinion consequences for the Supreme Court, and it is a gross distortion to imply otherwise. I’m from Brooklyn. We speak in strong language,” the senator said.

“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. And Leader McConnell knows that. And Republicans who are busy manufacturing outrage over these comments know that, too.”

GOP Sen. Josh Hawley announced on Wednesday he would be introducing a motion to censure Schumer for his controversial comments.

CORRECTION, March 6, 2020: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to Mitch McConnell as the Senate minority leader.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 3,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith