Schumer: 'Use This COVID Virus Crisis As a Magnifying Glass, and Show What's Wrong With America'

By Susan Jones | May 29, 2020 | 4:35am EDT
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wears a mask for his press conference on May 5, 2020. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wears a mask for his press conference on May 5, 2020. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), reacting to the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, called the situation "racism unadulterated" on Thursday.

He linked Floyd's death at the hands of police to the coronavirus crisis:

One of the things we have to do is use this COVID virus crisis as a magnifying glass, and show what's wrong with America, and do whatever we can to change it. You cannot sweep this under the rug. And, in a certain sense, we all have to be forced to look in the mirror.

You know, I like to say that Dr. King, one of his greatest things, he held a giant mirror up on his broad, strong shoulders, and, with his eloquence, forced America to look into that mirror. And America didn't like what it saw, and began to slowly change and did change some. We have a long way to go.

Before interviewing Schumer, CNN's Christiane Amanpour played video of Andrea Jenkins, vice president of the Minneapolis City Council, who said:

"I am asking my colleagues, the mayor, and anyone else who is concerned about the state of affairs in our community to declare a state of emergency declaring racism as a public health issue. Until we name this virus, this disease that has infected America for the past 400 years, we will never, ever resolve this issue," Jenkins said.

Amanpour called it a "powerful message," and she asked Schumer to react. Here are his full comments:

Well, anyone who saw the video in Minneapolis, it just turns your stomach.

And it was brutal. It was unnerving. And, unfortunately, it's hardly an isolated incident, as you pointed out, and even got worse. The police said, well, he was provoking us. And then a subsequent video showed he wasn't at all.

So, this is racism unadulterated. And, you know, you talk to -- the councilwoman talked about 400 years.

When Alexis de Tocqueville, the great French historian, visited America in the 1830s -- and he had so many brilliant insights -- he said, for instance, we were a puny little nation, but he said that we're going to become the greatest nation in the world, greater than the powers that day of Britain and Russia and France.

But he said, the one thing that could do America in -- he said this in the 1830s -- was racism. And that is every bit as true today. It's pervasive in our society, obviously in law enforcement, as we have seen. But it goes far beyond that.

Look at voting rights. Look at climate. It shouldn't be a racial issue, but climate -- problems from climate come down harder on minorities.

And look at what we just saw, Christiane, with COVID, a much higher rate of both death and incidence of the COVID virus in people of color here in America. Why? It wasn't coincidence. It's because their health care system is much poorer than in other places.

And the ability to deal with preexisting conditions, which we know COVID dwells on, was not there.

So, one of the things we have to do is use this COVID virus crisis as a magnifying glass, and show what's wrong with America, and do whatever we can to change it. You cannot sweep this under the rug. And, in a certain sense, we all have to be forced to look in the mirror.

You know, I like to say that Dr. King, one of his greatest things, he held a giant mirror up on his broad, strong shoulders, and, with his eloquence, forced America to look into that mirror. And America didn't like what it saw, and began to slowly change and did change some. We have a long way to go.

But COVID, in a sense, and these kinds of incidents as a result of COVID, should be that mirror. And what we should see about racism, we should not like, and we should all vow to change it in all the ways that we can.

The city of Minneapolis has been rocked with violent protests since Floyd's death on Memorial Day. The man is seen on videotape, lying on the ground, hands cuffed behind his back, with a police officer kneeling on his neck. The officer did not let up, even when Floyd said he couldn't breath and bystanders warned police that Floyd might die.

That officer and three others at the scene have been fired and charges are pending.

Some protesters looted and burned a Target store and others on Wednesday night; Last night, a police station was set on fire.


Also See:

Trump Warns Violent Protestors in Minnesota: ‘When the Looting Starts, the Shooting Starts’
Minneapolis Mayor Calls for Peace: 'We're Talking About 400 Years of This Kind of Racism''

 

 

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