Mississippi GOP governor says 'a lot of us' would’ve 'screamed' if Obama pushed criminal justice reform bill

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) said Saturday that a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill that President TrumpDonald TrumpMyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Simone Biles, Vince Lombardi and the courage to walk away MORE signed into law last year "couldn't" have passed if it were championed by former President Obama. 

“Obama couldn’t have done it,” Bryant said at a criminal justice reform panel during the first day of the National Governors Association winter meeting in Washington, D.C


“Because quite honestly, a lot of us probably, people probably would’ve screamed and hollered, ‘Oh, oh my goodness, he’s gonna turn them all out on our communities, and there’s going to be pillaging and crime, and there they go again.' ”

Bryant added that Trump's endorsement of the bill likely led people to realize that they should "stop shouting and listen a little bit," before adding that the push to overhaul the nation's criminal justice system was "remarkable." 

The comments from Bryant came as he discussed his own experience as a law enforcement officer and how he came to understand the way jail impacts families. 

He added that “there are people that need to be in prison, and then there’s people we’re just mad at."

"If they go do something wrong, maybe they are doing drugs, they get into the cycle of addiction, they break into your car, you’re mad at 'em," he said. "Do they need to be in jail for 20 years? No.”

Trump signed into law the First Step Act on Dec. 21 after it passed with overwhelming majorities in both chambers of Congress. 

"This is a great bi-partisan achievement for everybody," Trump tweeted after it passed in the House. "When both parties work together we can keep our Country safer."

The legislation is aimed at reducing recidivism. It also includes multiple changes to sentencing laws and mandatory minimum prison sentences. 

The bill's passage was viewed as a major victory for Trump and his senior adviser, Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerKushner launching investment firm in move away from politics: report Washington Post calls on Democrats to subpoena Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Meadows for testimony on Jan. 6 Unsealed documents detail Trump and Biden efforts on reporter records MORE, who pushed the effort during his first two years in the White House.