This is a really disgusting statement by Pelosi but to fully appreciate how bad it is, you have to know the context. Republicans and Democrats have each been working on policing reform bills. Pelosi is working on the Democratic bill in the House and Sen. Tim Scott is leading the Republican effort in the Senate. A vote on Scott’s bill is expected later today and it appears Democrats are going to prevent the Senate from even opening discussion on the bill.
There are significant differences in the two bills, most notably the Democratic bill would do away with qualified immunity for police officers and the Republican bill would not. So it’s fair to say there are major issues on which the parties disagree that are reflected in the approaches to police reform legislation. Those issues could be argued about among reasonable adults. Or, Nancy Pelosi could go on CBS radio and claim that a black Republican Senator is trying to get away with the murder of George Floyd:
In an interview with CBS News Radio, Pelosi was asked whether there’s any hope that Democrats and Republicans can reach a compromise on legislation responding to police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis…
Pelosi said Republicans “understand that there’s a need to get something done. … They admit that and have some suggestions that are worthy of consideration — but so far, they were trying to get away with murder, actually — the murder of George Floyd,” she said.
The full interview is here (her comment comes at about 2:30). Here is the relevant portion of her remarks:
Pelosi was asked to apologize and said she “absolutely, positively” would not:
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) June 24, 2020
Notice that dodge at the end? Pelosi knows that Sen. Scott is leading the GOP effort but I guess even she is a little uncomfortable accusing a black senator of trying to get away with George Floyd’s murder.
Remember when Democrats were worried about threats made against Ilhan Omar after her “some people did something” remarks? The claim at the time was that Republicans were putting her life in danger by criticizing her. I guess Democrats no longer care about that.
In private, Mr. Scott shocked his colleagues when he spoke at Republicans’ weekly luncheon about death threats he and his aides had received in recent days, according to two officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the closed-door remarks. He played some aloud for his colleagues, all of whom are white.
The calls, filled with profanity and racist slurs, included one diatribe addressed to “Uncle Tim,” where the caller, after cruelly and profanely condemning Mr. Scott, his family and some of his Republican colleagues, told Mr. Scott to “take your one-way ticket straight to hell.”
One caller discussed putting the senator “in his cross hairs,” Mr. Scott said…
While racist attacks and threats are not new to Mr. Scott or his office, he said they had become more aggressive in recent days.
The NY Times spells out the Democratic calculus on this:
Eyeing an increasingly favorable political environment, Democrats have little incentive to adopt a narrower overhaul, or open themselves to potentially difficult votes on law enforcement matters. The collapse of the Senate bill would allow them to skewer Republicans for failing to adequately respond to the crisis as they try to regain the Senate majority in the fall. And if their refusal to budge produces concessions by Republicans — as was the case when they initially blocked two coronavirus relief packages they called insufficient — they could still claim credit.
Sen. Scott gave a speech today saying if Democrats don’t think his bill is good enough they should, “make it better.” But it’s clear Pelosi sees more advantage in starting fires than in putting them out. That’s why she’s doubling down on the most incendiary language possible in the current moment.
Update: As expected, Democrats filibustered the GOP Senate bill. Guy Benson has a good write-up here.