Black lawmakers, audience stunned by Holder resignation news

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Pelosi plows full speed ahead on jam-packed agenda Jan. 6 committee taps former Bush administration official as top lawyer Ocasio-Cortez, Bush push to add expanded unemployment in .5T spending plan MORE (D-Calif.) told a stunned audience at a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation national town hall of Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderChristie, Pompeo named co-chairs of GOP redistricting group Democrats look to state courts as redistricting battle heats up On The Trail: Census kicks off a wild redistricting cycle MORE’s planned resignation and urged them to praise his “excellence.”

“The word is now that the attorney general will resign today,” Pelosi announced to attendees at an event televised on C-SPAN 2. “He has served our country very, very well.”

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“What?” a female speaker exclaims.

“Wow,” a male speaker says.

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights who spoke at the forum, had earlier lauded Holder's work on the Fair Sentencing Act for drugs and his efforts to reform voting laws.

Pelosi called for the group to praise “the excellence of our great Attorney General Eric Holder.”

“The message is that the attorney general will be submitting his resignation to the president,” Pelosi said. “So let us salute him again for all of his great, great [work].”

Holder had been widely rumored to be stepping down this year, and his decision to resign did not come as a shock to many in Washington. He’s been working as Obama’s attorney general since the beginning of the administration, and has been a lightning rod for criticism from the right.

The comments at the foundation’s event, however, highlighted the support Holder has with African-Americans. Holder is the first black attorney general in U.S. history.

“That is so bad, that is so terrible. Why?” Rep. John LewisJohn LewisHarris, CBC put weight behind activist-led National Black Voter Day Budowsky: High stakes drama for Biden, Manchin, Sinema Stacey Abrams backs Senate Democrats' voting rights compromise MORE (D-Ga.) asked.

“That's devastating, that's devastating,” a female panelist said.

“That is a shock. It's almost like we need to have another panel,” said Jeff Johnson, an author who spoke after Pelosi.