McCain: Durbin should apologize for ‘bus’ remarks

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Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainBiden's pick for vice president doesn't matter much Juan Williams: Biden's promises on women are a big deal Ernst calls for public presidential campaign funds to go to masks, protective equipment MORE (R-Ariz.) said Thursday that Senate Minority Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenator Tom Coburn's government oversight legacy Democratic lawmakers demand government stop deporting unaccompanied children Legal immigrants at risk of losing status during coronavirus pandemic MORE (D-Ill.) should apologize for his comments that Republicans are making Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch sit “in the back of the bus.”

The Arizona Republican said Durbin's speech was “offensive and unnecessary” and that Durbin owes the Senate, Lynch and the public an apology.

“I was so surprised and disappointed in the comments that he made yesterday,” McCain said on the Senate floor. He called the remarks “totally inappropriate” for the Senate floor.

McCain said Durbin’s remarks suggested “that racist tactics are being employed to delay Ms. Lynch's confirmation vote.”

“[It] serves no purpose other than to further divide us," McCain said.

Durbin did not offer an apology when he spoke on the Senate floor Thursday, but said that he is “upset and frustrated” over the delay in Lynch's nomination.

“All I am saying is that she deserves the same fair treatment that we have given to other nominees for this job,” he said. “I think it's insensitive for the Senate to hold her up for such a lengthy period of time.”

McCain isn't the first Republican to criticize Durbin's speech.

The office of Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) pushed back Wednesday.

“The remarks made this morning by the Democratic leadership were misguided, shameful, and as their own record shows, hypocritical,” Grassley's office said in a statement.

Durbin said Wednesday that “Lynch, the first African-American woman nominated to be attorney general, is asked to sit in the back of the bus when it comes to the Senate calendar.”