Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) said on Sunday that “to a significant extent” there are parts of the Republican base that are motivated by racism.
In response to a question on CNN’s "State of the Union," Israel declared that “not all” Republican lawmakers are racist.
"To a significant extent the Republican base does have elements that are animated by racism, and that's unfortunate," he added.
Israel’s charge followed comments from Attorney General Eric Holder last week that he believes he wasn’t treated respectfully by lawmakers at a House Judiciary Committee hearing, in part, because of racism.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) last week also said she believes “race has something to do” with Republicans’ reluctance to address immigration reform.
But Israel’s Republican counterpart, National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), pushed back on Israel’s assertion, calling his comments “both wrong and unfortunate.”
He said that Republicans have simply been aggressive in confronting the “executive overreaches by this administration.”
"The American people just want to know the truth," he said. “They want to know the truth about what really happened in the targeting of conservative truths by the IRS, they want to know what happened in Benghazi. They want to know answers, that's all we're trying to do."