At the hearing on Tuesday, Barr opened by saying, “On behalf of the Department of Justice, I want to pay my respects to your colleague John Lewis, an indomitable champion of civil rights and the rule of law,” as he praised his “commitment to nonviolence.”
In response to Barr’s remarks, the California lawmaker took to Twitter to blast the attorney general as she noted what Lewis advocated for during his time in office. For more than 40 years, Lewis fought for fair voting rights for minorities.
Harris tweeted, “Bill Barr hasn’t lifted a finger as Attorney General to protect voting rights in America. He has no business speaking John Lewis’s name.”
Bill Barr hasn’t lifted a finger as Attorney General to protect voting rights in America. He has no business speaking John Lewis’s name. pic.twitter.com/njjrUzKOu1— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) July 28, 2020
In a separate tweet, Harris said, “Bill Barr’s testimony today shows us he’s only here to protect the president and his reelection. That’s it.”
Bill Barr’s testimony today shows us he’s only here to protect the president and his reelection. That’s it.— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) July 28, 2020
Other Democratic lawmakers also weighed in with their reactions to Barr’s opening remarks. Like Harris, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) reacted to Barr’s comments
“Attorney General Barr, you started your testimony with eloquent words about the life and legacy of John Lewis fighting systematic racism, voter intimidation, civil rights,” Richmond said.
“The one thing that you have in common with your are two predecessors, both Attorney General Sessions and Attorney General Whitaker, is that when you all came here and brought your top staff, you brought no Black people,” Richmond continued, adding “That, sir, is systematic racism.”
Richmond also suggested that actions speak louder than words as he alluded to Harris’ remarks insisting he hasn’t furthered causes that Lewis fought for.
"You started with eloquent words about the life & legacy of John Lewis, fighting systematic racism… [but] when you brought your top staff, you brought no black people. That, sir, is systematic racism… keep the name of John Lewis out of the DOJ's mouth" — @RepRichmond pic.twitter.com/otj02Jnggc— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 28, 2020
Richmond continued, “That is exactly what John Lewis spent his life fighting, and so I would just suggest that actions speak louder than words, and you really should keep the name of the honorable John Lewis out of the Department of Justice’s mouth.”
Barr’s testimony comes weeks after President Donald Trump’s administration faced criticism for dispersing protesters in Lafayette Square during protests over the death of George Floyd.
In various cities, demonstrations are still ongoing as protesters continue their fight against police brutality and racial inequality — what Lewis spent his life fighting for.