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GOP lawmaker makes reference to lynching during Asian American hearing

Rep. Chip RoyCharles (Chip) Eugene RoyFive takeaways on the House's return to budget earmarks Hillicon Valley: Tech companies duke it out at Senate hearing | Seven House Republicans vow to reject donations from Big Tech Seven House Republicans vow to reject donations from Big Tech MORE (R-Texas) opened a Thursday hearing dedicated to the rise of violence against Asian Americans with a reference to lynching. 

"We believe in justice. There's an old saying in Texas ... find all the rope in Texas and get a tall oak tree,” Roy said in his opening statement at the House Judiciary Committee hearing, which came two days after the killings in the Atlanta area of eight people, including six Asian women. 

“We take justice very seriously, and we ought to do that. Round up the bad guys. That's where we believe,” he said.

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Roy's remarks did not provoke scrutiny during the hearing, though Rep. Grace MengGrace MengSenate locks in hate crimes deal, setting up Thursday passage Jim Jordan, Val Demings get in shouting match about police during hearing Senate aims to pass anti-Asian hate crimes bill this week MORE (D-N.Y.) appeared to note them in stating moments after he spoke: “Some of us seem to be going a little off topic. I'm not sure why."

Later, other lawmakers also took notice of the remark.

"Chip Roy glorified lynching at a hearing on violence against Asians," Rep. Ted LieuTed W. LieuDemocrats, activists blast Trump DOJ effort to get journalists' phone records Lawmakers praise Biden for expected recognition of Armenian Genocide Overnight Defense: Top Pentagon nominee advances after Harris casts tie-breaker | Air Force general charged with sexual assault first to face court-martial | House passes bill to limit Saudi arms sales MORE (D-Calif.), who spoke during the hearing, tweeted. "The largest mass lynching in US history was against Chinese immigrants. I served on active duty in the US military to defend [Roy's] right to say stupid, racist stuff. I just wish he would stop saying it."

 

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Additionally, other Democratic lawmakers during the session pushed back against Roy assigning blame of the coronavirus on China and GOP members who have continued to use incendiary language to describe COVID-19. 

Robert Aaron Long, 21, has been charged with eight counts of murder for the killings at three Atlanta-area spas. 

While police have said they are still investigating the suspect's possible motivation, the killings have underscored the dangers to Asian Americans amid the coronavirus, which has seen a spike in violent crimes targeting the community.

Roy’s “old saying” seemingly comes from a controversial lyric from a 2003 Toby Keith song.

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“Take all the rope in Texas, find a tall oak tree, round up all of them bad boys, hang them high in the street for all the people to see,” the song goes.

Roy later responded to complaints circulating about his reference to lynching.
 
“Apparently some folks are freaking out that I used an old expression about finding all the rope in Texas and a tall oak tree about carrying out justice against bad guys. I meant it," Roy said.

"We need more justice and less thought policing. We need to stop evil doers, such as those who carried out the attack in Atlanta this week, or cartels abusing little children, or those who kill our cops on the streets. We should restore order by tamping out evil actors, not turn America into an authoritarian state like the Chinese Communists who seek to destroy us. No apologies."

During the last session of Congress, the House passed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, which would have made lynching a federal hate crime. Roy voted in favor of the bill, which ultimately languished in the Senate.