Today I broke with Senate tradition and testified against the nomination of one of my colleagues, Senator Jeff Sessions. I believe that in the choice between standing with Senate norms or standing up for what my conscience tells me is best for our country, I will always choose conscience and country. Senator Sessions has not demonstrated a commitment to a central requirement of the job as Attorney General—to aggressively pursue the congressional mandate of civil rights, equal rights, and justice for all. In fact, at numerous times in his career, he has demonstrated a hostility toward these convictions, and has worked to frustrate attempts to advance these ideals. If confirmed, Senator Sessions will be required to pursue justice for women, but his record indicates that he won’t. He will be expected to defend the equal rights of gay and lesbian Americans, but his record indicates that he won’t. He will be expected to defend voting rights, but his record indicates that he won’t. He will be expected to defend the rights of immigrants and affirm their human dignity, but his record indicates he won’t. His record indicates that as Attorney General he would obstruct the growing national bipartisan movement toward criminal justice reform. His record indicates that we cannot count on him to support state and national efforts toward bringing justice to a justice system that people on both sides of the aisle readily admit is biased against the poor, drug addicted, mentally ill, and people of color. The next Attorney General must bring hope and healing to our country, and this demands a more courageous empathy than Senator Sessions’ record demonstrates. Jeff Sessions should not be our next Attorney General—I oppose his nomination and hope you will join me in speaking out.
My statement on the appointment of Steve Bannon to key White House post: Over the course of his campaign, Donald Trump degraded and demeaned Americans, threatened our rights, and attacked the privileges of citizenship. He will have a disastrous presidency if he governs that way, and he must show the American people with words and action how he will change direction. Many have offered to give him a chance to do so, despite his divisive campaigning, and he should not squander that opportunity to unite our nation. Elevating Steve Bannon—a man who leads a website that promotes truly radical views about race and religion, whose appointment was celebrated by neo-Nazis and denounced by the Anti-Defamation League, and who has been condemned by Republicans and Democrats alike—to one of the highest positions in the White House installs a man with fringe and dangerous ideologies just steps from the Oval Office. Bannon won't build bridges, he will burn them. He is unfit to advise America's commander-in-chief. Donald Trump should reverse the decision to hire him and chart a different course for the good of the American people.
I have a message for every American – Democrat, Republican, Independent – who relies on Planned Parenthood or know people that do or have the heart to stand up for the women who receive their critical services. In this moment in America – Republican congressional leadership now think they’re elected with a mandate to severely limit women's access to basic health care services – often working women, women struggling to raise families and make meager earnings stretch further and further. Over 2.5 million people a year seek live-saving care from Planned Parenthood like cancer screenings, birth control, and STI and STD tests. We cannot let the funding of Planned Parenthood be cut by Congress. To do so will hurt women, drive up overall medical costs for our nation, and inflict suffering and hardships on thousands and thousands of American families. We must stand up in an overwhelming of chorus of outrage. If enough Americans stand up and say we’re not going to tolerate this; we didn’t elect anybody to rip out key preventative services; we don't want to make it harder for someone struggling in this country to get basic healthcare services; that we believe in women and their healthcare. Let us work every single day leading into this showdown in Congress to wake up the consciousness of other folks around us. Let us call on others to protest, to fight, and to stand up with us. Because this cannot be allowed to happen, too many people will suffer.