President Barack Obama blasted Senate Republicans in an interview with The Huffington Post over the delay in confirming Loretta Lynch as Attorney General amid debate over a separate bill.
“You don’t hold attorney general nominees hostage for other issues,” Obama said. “This is our top law enforcement office. Nobody denies that she’s well-qualified. We need to go ahead and get her done.”
As Politico reported, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has put Lynch’s confirmation on hold while the Senate debates the inclusion of an anti-abortion provision in a bipartisan bill designed to help victims of human trafficking.
Obama pointed out that Lynch’s nomination has been on hold for 130 days, more than the five previous Attorney General nominees put together, including Eric Holder. Holder, who announced his resignation last September, said he would remain on the job until his replacement is confirmed.
“The irony is, of course, that the Republicans really dislike Mr. Holder,” the president said. “If [Republicans] really want to get rid of him, the best way to do it is to go ahead and get Loretta Lynch confirmed.”
However, both Obama and Holder dismissed the possibility that racial bias was playing a part in the delay on Lynch’s nomination.
“My guess is that there is probably not a huge racial component to this, that this is really just D.C. politics, Washington at its worst,” Holder told MSNBC. “A battle about something that is not connected to this nominee, holding up this nominee. I think that’s the main driver here.”
Watch Obama’s remarks, as posted on Friday, below.