Washington, D.C. – House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) spoke at a press conference today about the tragic death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests and riots that have swept the nation. Leader McCarthy stated that we need to come together and heal as a nation, and the American people need their Congress in Washington to help work on meaningful and consequential change.
“As George’s loved ones and friends prepare for his memorial service set to begin in a few hours today, I want to extend my sincere and heartfelt condolences. We all know he should be here with us today and as a country, we pray that God comforts his family during this difficult time and helps heal this nation.
“George Floyd’s Family deserves justice. His death, everyone agrees, was an unspeakable atrocity. Yesterday there were charges filed against the additional officers who were at the scene and did not intervene to stop his death — appalling actions by those sworn to protect and serve throughout our communities. I know this won’t bring George back, but I hope it brings his family some semblance of peace. The grace his family has shown inspires all Americans. The comments they have made to heal the nation I hope all listen to.
“Our nation was founded — and is still grounded — by the rule of law. Justice through enforcement of the law and due process must be protected, just like justice expressed through peaceful assembly must be protected.
“His family deserves justice. Those who protest have a right and deserve to be heard. Those who loot deserve to have consequences.
“But rioters and anarchists are not protesters. They are criminals – in some cases they have attacked and even killed the very people protecting communities in this time of chaos. Over the past several days we have already experienced more pain and loss as a nation.
“Everybody’s heart dropped when we heard that retired St. Louis Police Captain David Dorn who spent 38 years with St. Louis Police Department was killed trying to protect a pawn shop from looters.
“David Patrick Underwood, a federal law enforcement officer, was providing security at a federal courthouse during a protest when someone fired shots from a vehicle. David’s sister is a City Councilwoman in my district; at one moment she was even deciding to run for Congress, and she has now lost her brother.
“In all, we have lost 11 people since the violence ensued. Countless others have been injured. This behavior – and tolerance of this behavior – is an affront to peaceful protest, the men and women exercising their First Amendment rights, and our local first responders that keep the peace in our communities. Violence is not the answer.
“It is not honoring the memory of George or the legacy of civil rights from Martin Luther King Jr. to John Lewis. We need to remind every citizen in our country to keep watch that the flame of racial equality remains charged and stronger than ever…
“Over the past few days, I have reached out to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to establish a forum for important conversations on racial equality and opportunity to take place. That forum should recognize that we must take action after listening to each other so that all Americans have trust that the notion of the American idea is colorblind when it comes to the rule of law and equality of opportunity.
“But we also stand against the unfair, broad-brush maligning of brave law enforcement in our neighborhoods, because of the hateful actions of the few bad apples that wear the uniform.
“That forum belongs in Washington — with the full Congress in session — working together to make our country a more perfect one. Our nation needs to come together and heal. And they need their Congress in Washington.
“I’ve never been more ready to get to work on that.”