majunznk / Flickr maxine waters speaking...
majunznk / Flickr

Maxine Waters and John Lewis were both guests at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation today and these two Congresspeople pulled no punches. Maxine called Jeff Sessions by his true name.

 “First of all he’s a racist. He’s a throwback. He has defined himself throughout his career. And so the President of the United States appointed him to one of the most important offices in all of government to become the attorney general with the power that he holds to do the damage that he set out to do.”

“We’re working on the mandatory minimums which have sent so many of our young people to prisons, small amounts of drugs, crack cocaine, who have ended up with long terms…they have to increase the prison population tremendously, but now he [Sessions] wants to review that, and he wants to get tough, and do away with the mandatory minimums relaxations that we have done.

“And then voting rights. You know, he says that the NAACP and the ACLU are communist organizations.”

Then she took aim at Betsy DeVos:

“She hasn’t seen the inside of a classroom.”

“She doesn’t anything about education and she’s bringing in all of the private and secondary schools that rip off our people every day.”

And no love lost for Ben Carson:

“And then look at [Housing and Urban Development Secretary] Ben Carson. May God. My grandmother would call it an educated fool. Here’s a man that has a reputation of being a very highly competent surgeon, but when he talks about poor people, he says they are the cause of their poverty. He doesn’t understand why you didn’t do what he did, and why you didn’t make it like he made it. And he doesn’t know the difference between slavery and immigration.”

Congressman Lewis said this:

“We faced mobs, we faced the (Ku Klux) Klan, we faced overt, open racism,” Lewis said. “During the ’60s, during the freedom rides in 1961, black people and white people couldn’t be seated together on a Greyhound bus, even Washington, D.C., to travel through the South. We were beaten, attempted to burn us on the bus, we were left bloody and unconscious by angry mobs. When we attempted to march from Selma to Montgomery just for the right to vote to protest in a peaceful, ordinary non-violent fashion, we were beaten by the state police and left unconscious, some bloody, and some of our people died. After the march on Washington in 1963, there was so much hope and optimism, but 18 days later, a church was bombed in Birmingham, where four little girls were killed on a Sunday morning. What we see happening now, it’s not new.”

“The man that some people voted for made it comfortable for people to put on their hoods, put on those sheets, and I tell you, if we’re not mindful or watchful, we are going to go back,” Lewis said. “We’ve come too far, made too much progress to go back. I don’t want to go back. I want to go forward, and we must go forward.”

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