Two Words, Mr. Schumer, Two Words

Published: March 9, 2020

By Jim Lichtman
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Why can’t politicians just admit when their wrong?

One answer is that such an admission is perceived as a sign of weakness that the other side will exploit.

Growing up in Catholic schools on the east coast, the brothers were tough, but the nuns were tougher. If you even whispered the wrong thing, the penalty was immediate.

It’s sad to think that we have a president who faces no consequences, not only for his derisive remarks about others, but even when he contradicts his own health officials about a health crisis – (he’s now the epidemiologist in chief).

Nonetheless, we are living in an era of attack politics where too many politicians are measured not by their character but by acting like a disrespectful character – something that’s becoming far too routine.

Such is the case with Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer.

Last week, Sen. Schumer attended a rally outside the Supreme Court, and punctuated his defense of women’s rights by saying this:

“I want to tell you, [Neil] Gorsuch, I want to tell you, [Brett] Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price.”

After receiving criticism of his not-so-veiled threat against two Supreme Court justices, Schumer issued an apology… of sorts:

“They didn’t come out the way I intended to. I shouldn’t have used the words I did, but in no way was I making a threat.”

The New York senator’s response sadly lacked things like, “I apologize,” “I regret,” or “I’m sorry.” Instead of taking complete and unequivocal responsibility for his lack of respect toward justices serving on the highest court in the land, Schumer blamed the other side.

“Republicans… were busy manufacturing outrage over these comments,” he said on Twitter.

Then, Schumer attempted to absolve himself. “I’m from Brooklyn. We speak in strong language.”

“The minority leader of the United States Senate threatened two associate justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, period,” Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell said. “There’s no other way to interpret that.

“Perhaps he would like the most generous possible interpretation that he got carried away and didn’t mean what he said,” McConnell added. “But if he didn’t even admit to saying what he said, we certainly cannot know what he meant.”

While I rarely agree with McConnell, he’s right!

Clearly, Mr. Schumer needs a refresher in ethics, (or maybe he should face the wrath of Sister Marie and write, “I apologize for what I said,” on the blackboard a hundred times).

The point is simple: whether it’s a corporate president or the head of any organization, when it comes to mistakes, the two most important words are, “I’m sorry.” No excuses. No blaming others. No passion defense. Just, “I’m sorry.” “I’m sorry for the words I used. I’m sorry for the people I hurt, my colleagues, my constituents and especially Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh.”

Accountability not only calls for a sincere apology but requires us to go a step further.

“I take my oath of office seriously, and will work harder to live up to the responsibility the people of New York and the country expect of a U.S. Senator.”

We all make mistakes, but people of character not only think before acting but have the courage to admit they’re wrong.


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