GOP congressman on verdict: 'Get over it'
July 16th, 2013
02:11 PM ET
1 year ago

GOP congressman on verdict: 'Get over it'

(CNN) – Rep. Andy Harris, R-Maryland, has some blunt advice for those protesting or focusing on last week's verdict in the George Zimmerman trial.

"We're hung up on this one case, where this one fellow was, in fact, found not guilty by a jury. That's the way the American law system works," Harris said Tuesday morning in a radio interview. "Get over it."

Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot Trayvon Martin in February 2012, was acquitted by a jury late Saturday on state criminal charges. Large protests and petitions have since erupted around the country in opposition to the jury's decision, with racial tensions as a major underpinning.

But Harris argued the trial got more attention than necessary.

"We missed the forest of the trees to a large extent," he said on WMAL's "Mornings on the Mall." Harris added there were other "huge issues going on in the world," namely unrest in the Middle East.

A federal civil rights investigation was previously opened in the case, and some are pushing for the Justice Department to bring federal charges against Zimmerman.

However, the DOJ needs to establish that a hate crime was committed, a legal burden Attorney General Eric Holder has said in the past would be a challenge to meet.

Asked about his thoughts should the DOJ decide to press charges, the two-term congressman from Maryland said Tuesday that such a move would be "purely political."

"We would have to look at ways to rein in the Justice Department," Harris said. "A lot people feel the Justice Department has run amok."

A new survey from the Pew Research Center indicates a modest amount of Americans–26%–were following coverage of the trial "very closely." Notably, the story gained far more interest among African Americans, with 67% saying they watched at least some live coverage of the Zimmerman trial, compared to 38% of whites.

The same poll found that the shooting death of Martin and the subsequent trial attracted less interest than other racially-charged news stories in the past. According to Pew, 70% of adults in 1992 said they followed the Rodney King verdict and riots, and 48% said the same in 1994 about the O.J. Simpson trial.

– CNN's Ashley Killough and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: House • Justice Department
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Couldn't he have found words that at least showed some respect for the dead besides, "Get over it." That's inflammatory.

    July 16, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  2. just sayin

    he's 100% correct. holder and his abuse and misuse of the (in)justice dept. needs to be held to account. if they persecute zimmerman, they should go after holder until he resigns. the guy is a total incompetent, just like his boss.

    July 16, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  3. smith

    It was a fair and just trial, he was founf not guilty. Nothing more to be said about this case

    July 16, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  4. regenesis0

    With all the tact we've come to expect from the Republican Party. Bravo!

    And we "shouldn't be focusing on this when there are more pressing issues like the middle East," huh? So when is that going to be resolved? I'd just like a timetable so I know when we can get around to addressing our own problems. Ten, fifteen years? That sounds like a generous amount of time.
    Okay! In fifteen years we will have fully resolved the the Middle East and be allowed to pay attention to our own problems, thank you Representative Harris!

    July 16, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  5. regenesis0

    With all the tact we've come to expect from the Republican Party. Bravo!

    And we "shouldn't be focusing on this when there are more pressing issues like the middle East," huh? So when is that going to be resolved? I'd just like a timetable so I know when we can get around to addressing our own problems. Ten, fifteen years? That sounds like a generous amount of time.
    Okay! In fifteen years we will have fully resolved the the Middle East and be allowed to pay attention to our own problems, thank you Representative Harris!

    July 16, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  6. Jon

    This Ted Kennedy style liberal fully agrees!

    July 16, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  7. Ed

    Wonder if this conservative shill had the same feelings about OJ. This DOJ has, in fact, been very average in civil rights cases, it is only conservative twits who hate anything to do with Obama 24/7 that constantly blame Holder for mountains they have made from molehills

    July 16, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. Solomon

    Mr. Harris, if George Zimmerman shot YOUR son instead, you would feel differently. Now I see what kind of callously insensitive hypocrite you are and how many in GOP are just as callously insensitive and hypocritical as YOU!

    July 16, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. sonny chapman

    Sounds like a 47% view of America. If my tribe ain't affected, so what. Not what a NATION is about.

    July 16, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  10. just sayin

    the democrats and liberals don't want to accept the facts as presented in court, nor do they want to accept the verdict because it does not play into their racial division strategy for the country. they use race as a wedge issue to further their leftist causes. if they can't play the race card with regularity, they have nothing but their inferior leftist ideology.

    July 16, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  11. Guess

    What about kwame? he was framed, by the man.

    July 16, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  12. jules

    Very helpful.

    July 16, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  13. Lathrope

    What a thinking, feeling, caring leader he is. Well said Mr. republican. Again you have shown the depth of your parties sincere belief that all life is sacred, until it's actually born. Then it's just another possible drain to the economy.

    July 16, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  14. California

    The racist rioters will continue to whine.

    July 16, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  15. California

    just sayin

    he's 100% correct. holder and his abuse and misuse of the (in)justice dept. needs to be held to account. if they persecute zimmerman, they should go after holder until he resigns. the guy is a total incompetent, just like his boss.
    ----–
    Agreed

    July 16, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair [I think] wrote:

    And why did this tool feel the need to interject his hatred into an already volatile situation?
    -----------------–
    Because that is what Republicans have always done. Rub their enemies faces in the dirt. Kick a man when he's down. Etc.

    July 16, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  17. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Fair is Fair
    And why did this tool feel the need to interject his hatred into an already volatile situation?
    -------------------------------------------
    Thank you Fair!

    July 16, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  18. PJ

    What a compassionate man. So filled with understanding of the pain the loss of another child has caused.
    Not to worry though, Zimmerman will get his gun back, which, according to his TV loving lawyer, he
    needs "even more", and, of course, his license to kill is in tact.
    Zimmerman's brother even said he "fears some vigilante, with a gun, stalking him".........................
    Isn't that what he was doing to Trayvon Martin?
    "Get over it" my a.....

    July 16, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  19. rs

    Too bad the GOP can't "get over" they lost to the President twice and work with him.

    July 16, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    just sayin wrote:

    he's 100% correct. holder and his abuse and misuse of the (in)justice dept. needs to be held to account. if they persecute zimmerman, they should go after holder until he resigns.
    ---------------
    Breaking News: Republicans have already been going after Holder non-stop for years now.

    July 16, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  21. rs

    Mr. Harris is playing the Akin card- say something, anything to deflect- just be sure it's offensive.

    July 16, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  22. Al-NY,NY

    So I guess all the tightie righties should "get over it" re: ACA, Prop 8, DOMA since those were decided by the Supreme Court? Wait til mr Harris signs some pathetic attempt to overturn any of those and someone will throw his nasty words back in his face

    July 16, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  23. Caumont

    They need another reason to run around attacking people and destroying other peoples property without repercussions.

    July 16, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  24. John in Brooklyn

    Perhaps someone needs to remind the Tea Bag Republicans that they LOST the Civil War.....so get over it. That having been said... I don't see a federal case here unless there was some form of hate crime or civil rights violation that Zimmerman might be charged with....which is a stretch. What is NOT a stretch, however, is for the Martin family to sue Zimmerman in civil court for every cent to his name...including all of the money he collected to help him pay for his defense. This is actually what the Brown family did with O.J. Simpson when he was acquitted....and they stripped of everything!

    July 16, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  25. California

    KKK was in fact founded by the democrat party.

    Ignorance is no excuse libs.

    July 16, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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