Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) acknowledged Sunday that race played a role in the seating of his congressional colleague, Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.).

Durbin said that racially inflammatory remarks made by Rep. Bobby RushBobby Lee RushHillicon Valley: Judge's ruling creates fresh hurdle for TikTok | House passes bills to secure energy sector against cyberattacks | Biden campaign urges Facebook to remove Trump posts spreading 'falsehoods' House passes bills to secure energy sector against cyberattacks Congress should investigate OAS actions in Bolivia MORE (D-Ill.) -- a key Burris ally -- during the debate over whether to seat the embattled Burris increased the role race took in the Senate appointment.

"My colleague from Illinois, Congressman Bobby Rush, came in and made some strong statements along those lines," Durbin told Chicago's WGN Radio. "They were painful and hurtful and it became part of this calculation."

"I will ask you to not hang and lynch the appointee as you try to castigate the appointer," Rush said after Burris had been appointed by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D). "I don't think that anyone -- any U.S. senator who's sitting in the Senate right now -- wants to go on record to deny one African-American for being seated in the U.S. Senate."