WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, is defending himself after a speech outside the Supreme Court Wednesday that Republicans, and Chief Justice John Roberts, thought crossed a line and implied a threat of violence against the conservative justices on the court.
In the fiery speech, Schumer said two Supreme Court justices would “pay the price” for their decision in an abortion case.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, attacked Schumer on the Senate floor for his threatening statements.
“If any American had these words shouted at them from a sidewalk outside their office, they would hear these threats as personal,” McConnell said.
President Donald Trump also took a swing a Schumer, tweeting that he “must pay a severe price for this.”
“Schumer has brought great danger to the steps of the United States Supreme Court!” another one of Trump’s tweets read.
Roberts fired back at Schumer, saying, “…threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate ─ they’re dangerous.”
On Thursday, Schumer tried to take his statements back.
“I shouldn’t have used the words I used,” Schumer said. “They didn’t come out the way I intended to, my point was there would be political consequences. Political consequences for President Trump and Senate Republicans.”
But some Republicans want more than an explanation or apology.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, wants the Senate to vote on censuring Schumer for his comments.
“The Democratic leader should know better, and the bottom line is, Schumer does know better this was a piece of political theater,” Hawley said.
Even Schumer’s defenders said his speech was a poor choice of words.