'Trying to get away with murder...of George Floyd': Pelosi bashes Senate GOP policing reform bill

Senate Republicans demanded an apology from the speaker for her choice of words.
Image: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) addresses her weekly news conference with Capitol Hill reporters at the Capitol
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at her weekly news conference at the Capitol on June 18, 2020.Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
By Rebecca Shabad

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says that Senate Republicans are trying to "get away with murder" with their policing reform bill, which will be considered in a key procedural vote on Wednesday.

In an interview with CBS News Radio, Pelosi was asked whether there's any hope that Democrats and Republicans can reach a compromise on legislation responding to police brutality in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis.

"Well, you be the judge. We're saying, 'No chokeholds.' They're saying, you know — they're not saying, 'No chokeholds.' I mean, there's a big difference. What's the compromise? 'Some chokeholds?'" Pelosi asked in the interview Tuesday.

Pelosi said Republicans "understand that there's a need to get something done. ... They admit that and have some suggestions that are worthy of consideration — but so far, they were trying to get away with murder, actually — the murder of George Floyd," she said.

The Senate Republicans demanded an apology for the comments, tweeting, "Speaker Pelosi owes Senator Scott an apology for these disgusting comments."

Asked in an interview Wednesday on MSNBC whether she would apologize, Pelosi said, "Absolutely, positively not," and added that the news media has given Republicans "far too much credit for a bill that does nothing."

Pelosi said Democrats can't compromise with Republicans on things like ending chokeholds, which the GOP measure would not ban outright, and called the Republican bill is a "nonstarter."

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and other Senate Republicans unveiled their version of police reform legislation last week after weeks of nationwide protests over law enforcement’s treatment of Black Americans.

Unlike the measure recently introduced by House and Senate Democrats, the Republican bill wouldn't include an outright ban on chokeholds and it wouldn't include a ban on "no-knock" warrants as Democrats have included in their bill. The GOP bill would just collect data on entries using "no-knock" warrants, and it also wouldn't touch on qualified immunity, which shields police officers from lawsuits.

Pelosi's comments come as the Senate is set to take a procedural vote Wednesday afternoon to move to debate on the legislation proposed by Senate Republicans. Senate Democrats signaled Tuesday that they plan to block the bill from advancing, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., saying that the bill is "deeply, fundamentally and irrevocably flawed."

Haley Talbot contributed.