President Barack Obama blamed Republicans’ ‘stubbornness’ and ‘Senate dysfunction’ as the chief causes behind holding up the nomination of Loretta Lynch for attorney general. He refrained from saying the obstruction was motivated by the fact that Lynch is African American, as some Democrats have argued.
In an interview with The Huffington Post on Friday, Obama said “I don’t know about that” responding to the idea that Lynch’s race is what’s pushing Republicans to refuse to confirm Lynch as attorney general.
Instead, Obama said, Republicans are holding the nomination “hostage.”
“You don’t hold attorney general nominees hostage for other issues,” Obama said in the interview. “This is our top law enforcement office. Nobody denies that she’s well-qualified. We need to go ahead and get her done.”
Lynch’s nomination has been held up for over one hundred days. Earlier in the week Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that there wouldn’t be a vote on Lynch’s nomination until the Senate passed a human trafficking bill, which includes anti-abortion legislation Democrats oppose.
Some Democrats have argued that the opposition to Lynch is really because she’s African American.
“I think race certainly can be considered a major factor in the delay,” Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) said on Tuesday.
Obama argued that Lynch is undeniably qualified for the job.
“What I do know is that she is eminently qualified. Nobody denies it,” Obama said. “Even the Republicans acknowledge she’s been a great prosecutor. She has prosecuted terrorists in New York, she has gone after organized crime, she’s gone after public corruption. Her integrity is unimpeachable. By all accounts she’s a great manager, and the fact that she has now been lingering in this limbo for longer than five previous attorney general nominees combined makes no sense. We need to go ahead and get this done.”