by Emilio Jaksetic
Since the tragic death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 at the hands of a police officer, there have been thousands of (mostly peaceful) demonstrations and hundreds of riots and civil disturbances in towns and cities across the United States. Some took place in Richmond, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Fredericksburg and other Virginia jurisdictions.
Senator Mark Warner, D-VA, issued over 200 press releases between May 25, 2020 and October 22, 2020, covering a wide variety of issues and topics. The releases tell Virginians what he thinks about a wide range of legislation, government activities, issues, and events. But they leave Virginians in the dark about how he sees the many violent civil disturbances that have roiled America.
Since the death of George Floyd, the senator has issued four press releases relating to the civil unrest:
- June 10, 2020, press release calling for the public release of any information supporting “President Trump’s Inflammatory Claims Related to Protests Against the Police Killing of George Floyd”;
- June 16, 2020, press release calling for an Inspector General investigation of Attorney General Barr’s handling of the June 1, 2020 protests around Lafayette Park in Washington, DC;
- July 23, 2020, press release on introducing legislation to block the use of federal agents “as paramilitary forces against Americans”; and
- July 31, 2020 press release about a letter that Senate Democrats sent to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posing 25 questions about DHS’s activities relating to the civil disturbances in Portland Oregon.
Warner also issued a June 8, 2020, press release about joining other senators in introducing the Justice in Policing Act of 2020. Although that document refers to the death of George Floyd and concerns about police brutality, it does not discuss any of the riots or civil disturbances that followed Floyd’s death.
Significantly, since May 25, 2020, Warner has not issued press releases on:
- the riots and civil disturbances in dozens of American cities that have damaged many innocent businesses and communities;
- the acts of murder, mayhem, arson, looting, and other serious criminal acts committed against innocent civilians, businesses, and neighborhoods during many of the riots and civil disturbances across the US; or
- the violent attacks on local, state, and federal law enforcement officers, and other first responders across the US.
Warner was moved to issue a September 8, 2020 press release about joining other Senators to condemn violence — in Cameroon, a country in Africa — but not one condemning violence in Virginia.
Odd. Puzzling. Disquieting.
In times of crisis and high tensions, taking time to reflect and gather one’s thoughts might be warranted. But Warner has had ample time to reflect.
Before they enter the voting booth (or send their mail-in ballots), Virginia citizens should ask themselves…
What does Warner think about the wave of riots and violent civil disturbances in the US this year?
Why is violence in Cameroon is worth addressing but riots and civil unrest in Virginia and the U.S. are not?
Why has the senator been so silent? Is he too weary from the travails of his 2020 re-election campaign to focus on the wave of riots and civil unrest in America? Is he worried about upsetting voters if he speaks his mind?
Upon pondering Warner’s silence on riots and civil unrest, citizens might legitimately wonder if he is he is living up to his responsibilities as Virginia’s senior senator.
Emilio Jaksetic, a retired lawyer, is a Fairfax County Republican.There are currently no comments highlighted.