May 28th, 2009
10:22 PM ET
6 years ago

Top Republican calls Limbaugh, Gingrich comments 'terrible'

Cornyn on Thursday said statements calling Sotomayor a racist are 'terrible.'
Cornyn on Thursday said statements calling Sotomayor a racist are 'terrible.'

(CNN) - A top Senate Republican is taking aim at recent statements from conservative commentators Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich suggesting Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is a "racist."

"I think it's terrible," Sen. John Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told NPR's "All Things Considered" Thursday. "This is not the kind of tone any of us want to set when it comes to performing our constitutional responsibilities of advise and consent.”

Both the popular radio host and former GOP House Speaker have suggested Obama's pick for the high court is  a racist while referencing a 2001 speech at Berkeley during which Sotomayor said, "I would hope that a wise Latina woman, with the richness of her experiences, would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

Related: In her own words: Sotomayor's 'Latina' speech

"Imagine a judicial nominee said 'my experience as a white man makes me better than a latina woman.' new racism is no better than old racism," Gingrich wrote on Twitter Wednesday.

"Here you have a racist – you might want to soften that, and you might want to say a reverse racist," Limbaugh said the day before on his radio program.

Senate Republicans meanwhile have largely withheld judgment on Sotomayor, though many - including Cornyn - have taken issue with some of her past statements and rulings.

"We are all a product of our upbringing and who we are and I think it’s a fact people do have different backgrounds, but I don't think those background ought to determine what the law is," Cornyn said to NPR of Sotomayor's Berkeley comments.

The NRSC chief also brushed off the Limbaugh and Gingrich statements while noting neither man holds an elected office.

"Neither one of these men are elected Republican officials. I just don't think it’s appropriate. I certainly don't endorse it. I think it’s wrong," he said.


Filed under: Extra • John Cornyn • Newt Gingrich • Rush Limbaugh • Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (248 Responses)
  1. brianbrat

    Apparently, you must be an elected official to hear your voice. If not, you're nothing until the next approriate election.

    May 28, 2009 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  2. Jason

    All you liberals whining about taking Sotomayor comments out of context did it yourselves when you said Rush said he "wanted Obama to fail." You people forgot to include the part where Rush said he wants Obama's SOCIALIST POLICIES to fail – not himself fail in general. But, that's what we expect from you hypocrites on the modern representative left who think you are the true center of this nation and feel that true Conservative Republicans should shift center-left. I don't think so.

    May 28, 2009 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  3. George Greenman

    White Men Can't Jump huh? This is what you choose to make a point with? A comedy movie? Protest it huh? Then can we protest Soul Man? Come with something better than the title of a movie please.

    May 28, 2009 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  4. Jason

    Oh, and one other thing: I thought you Moveon.org liberals said that Rush was now irrelevant after the election last November? Well, when are you ladies on the left going to SHADDAAAP about Rush already?!

    May 28, 2009 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  5. bflatblueswoman

    Forget about it being a Republican showing some good sense; It's rare to find any party having any sense other than the sense of hatred and nit picking about everything and about everyone who isn't their kind of person. Politics and money go hand in hand- They both corupt the very soul of a person.

    May 28, 2009 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  6. HopeisLost

    Thank you John for bringing this to CNN attention. We should all know what she said and who she is, for it will shed some light on who the one appointed her really is

    May 28, 2009 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  7. Hayley

    Oh for crying out loud, Newt, you imbecile, Sotomayor did NOT say, “my experience as a Latina woman makes me better than a white man,” she said, “my experience as a Latina woman makes it easier for me to understand the lives of other Latina women, than it is for a white man who hasn’t experienced life as a Latina woman.” That’s not racism; it’s empiricism.

    May 28, 2009 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  8. Desert Storm VETERAN - Welcome to the end of the era of dumb ass Republicans and Stoopid Retards like Rush Limbaugh and Newt in power

    Rush and Newt do not matter at all. Neither is an elected official and both are has beens. Rush is fat food junkie and Newt is a fat head monkey. Sotomayor will be confirmed by the Senate. She will be the best thing to happen on the high court since Christopher Columbus took a cruise ship to our shores. Rush is in rehab and Newt is on the rag. Pay no attention to these two doofuses. Yay .... Obama won -– AGAIN!!! Whoopee!!

    May 28, 2009 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  9. JonDie

    Cornyn better watch out of Republican leaders Limbaugh, Cheney and Gingrich are gong to kick Cornyn out of the Republican Party.

    May 28, 2009 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  10. Sunnb

    I am a Democrat. For as much as I would love to see the demise of the GOP, my gut feeling tells me that I wish the GOP comes out of this as a strong party, having tamed the radicals on the right. However, Rush, Sean, Laura and Mark (and Newt) are the gorillas that are not going to go away anytime soon. So...good luck GOP with your plight and hope to see you on a better day. Our system needs apposing views for balance.

    May 28, 2009 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  11. Eddie

    Common sense is not so common. Someone please tell Rush and Newt that the 'slave master' and 'slave' can not be held to the same standard when it comes to their comments on slavery.

    May 28, 2009 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  12. Fran

    When people look to a hack entertainer for political wisdom and guidance you know things have gotten pretty degenerate in the culture. The GOP is becoming a farce. Sad day for two-party politics in the US.

    May 28, 2009 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  13. Peter (CA)

    Wow, when John Cornyn is the reasonable one, what does that say about the rest of them?

    I'll give him his props on this one. He shows sound judgment. He didn't say he agreed with her, he just said be reasonable.

    May 28, 2009 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  14. joy

    "I would hope that a wise Latina woman, with the richness of her experiences, would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

    NOTE: she is comparing life experience and nothing more. i am a white women, with a white husband and have been listening to white men brag about their "worldliness" my whole life. get over it folks.

    May 28, 2009 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  15. SkiPete

    It's interesting that the criticism from Newt and Rush is that she was being 'Racist' for that statement which includes her heritage and her gender

    Wonder why didn't they complain that she was being a Sexist as well or instead ?

    May 28, 2009 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  16. Arlen Spector

    John, If you can't beat 'em join 'em.

    May 28, 2009 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  17. Proud American

    Now here is one Republican whose trying to save his job.. Smart guy.

    May 28, 2009 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  18. Chtei

    I appreciate the truth finally told by a responsible Congressmen that actually cares about the truth! I hope that he does not have to apologize to these two ridiculous men, both Newt and Rush, about how he believes his party should stand. After all, the people actually ELECTED him to do this. They don't elect Rush because they know that man is in need of serious mental help.

    May 28, 2009 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  19. Dan Field

    Its also time for us to turn off Limbaugh completely. Its absolutely inappropriate for someone, a U S citizen, to speak out, and on numerous occassions, that "he hopes the President of the United States fails".
    I have never heard anyone in history or learned of such, ever make such comments!! Why would you ever wish any such things on our Country?
    That is totally irresponsible, unacceptable, unpatriotic, down-right unethical, to even have such thoughts, no matter what political party one belongs to, no matter what ethnic group one belongs to, etc etc.
    Please turn this crazy character off! Enough with the negativity!!

    May 28, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  20. Philly conservative

    This woman is a member of La Raza. Thats radical enough for me. I wouldn't want her or a member of the KKK on the Supreme Court.

    May 28, 2009 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  21. Tim E

    I think it sounded more sexist than racist, but I'm not sure that it is any better for an interpretation of the Constitution to turn upon the time of the month than it is the color of the judge's skin. Her opinions are going to be fun reading!

    May 28, 2009 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  22. RMG

    Very well said and I appreciate his reasonable and correct response the Limbaugh and Gingrich. Thank you Mr. Cornyn.

    "I think it's terrible," Sen. John Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told NPR's "All Things Considered" Thursday. "This is not the kind of tone any of us want to set when it comes to performing our constitutional responsibilities of advise and consent.”

    "Neither one of these men are elected Republican officials. I just don't think it’s appropriate. I certainly don't endorse it. I think it’s wrong," he said.

    May 28, 2009 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  23. Walter

    I'm sorry but I think Gingrich is right. Any person with this level of authority needs to be held to the highest standard regardless political affiliation. Anyone who who make inflammatory comments, in context or not, should not be allowed to write legal opinion which needs to be explicity clear. Our country is drowning in biased confusing law. please do not make it worse.

    May 28, 2009 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  24. Nick

    If the GOP is to recover from its total defeat in 2008, it needs to start acting more like Senator Cornyn and less like the ignorant goons who inhabit the right-wing talk radio waves. It's not a mistake that McCain's best speech in the 2008 election was his conciliatory concession speech, as opposed to the campaign talking points that were simply loaded to the barrel with antagonism.

    Cornyn's amicable, respectful demeanor towards Judge Sotomayor – despite his differences with her when it comes down to the issues – is something the Republican party should consider replicating more often. Attack the issues, not the person(s) behind them.

    May 28, 2009 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  25. Carole Clarke

    Limbaugh and Gingrich have nothing to lose by running a nasty crack up the flagpole to see if any other Republicans want to salute it. If no one does then they have their answer and can go trundling off into the ether until they get called out for the next attack. Best thing is to wait and see what comes up, if anything, during the Senate confirmation hearings. I just hope that it won't be a fiasco like the one for Justice Clarence Thomas.

    May 28, 2009 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
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