President Joe Biden’s associate attorney general nominee Vanita Gupta half-heartedly apologized for past tweets of hers attacking Republicans during Tuesday’s confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“I regret the harsh rhetoric that I have used at times in the last several years,” Gupta said. “Perhaps, I think the rhetoric has gotten quite harsh over the last several years, and I have fallen prey to it. And I wish I could take it back. I can’t.”
Associate Attorney General nominee Vanita Gupta: "On the tweets…I regret the harsh rhetoric that I have used at times in the last several years. Perhaps, I think the rhetoric has gotten quite harsh over the last several years and I have fallen prey to it." pic.twitter.com/ZyaK7eyAfh
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 9, 2021
Instead of fully confessing to her harsh rhetoric, Gupta blamed society and said she fell “prey” to it.
“Her Twitter feed has painted Republicans with a broad brush, describing the Republican National Convention as three nights of ‘racism, xenophobia, and outrageous lies,’” Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said. “How many of our colleagues in this room were there? Of course, Ms. Gupta has in fact launched Twitter attacks on some of them directly. Will that kind of partisan political advocacy affect her legal advocacy in her role where she represents all Americans?”
Grassley and Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., harped on Gupta’s verbal attacks on Supreme Court Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh, with whom she would probably work on cases in her potential Justice Department position. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., mentioned Gupta’s prior targeting of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
“It does reward snark and polarization, and I have fallen prey to that,” Gupta replied when Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., asked her about Twitter. “If I am confirmed as associate attorney general, you’ll probably be happy to know I won’t be tweeting in that way.”
Blackburn also asked Gupta how her prior sentiment to “believe all survivors” in regard to the Kavanaugh allegations bodes with her view of the sexual misconduct allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“On Gov. Cuomo’s allegations, the investigation by the attorney general is ongoing, and I believe it’s appropriate,” Gupta said. “I believe all survivors should be heard.”
Neither Gupta nor the senators directly said which tweets they were referring to, but rather provided a broad overview to which Gupta responded.
The Biden nominee notably contradicted herself in Tuesday’s hearing, saying she does not support defunding the police — whereas she held the defund position during the Antifa riots in reaction to the death of George Floyd.
“I do not support defunding the police. I have, in fact, spent my career advocating, where it’s been necessary, for greater resources for law enforcement for things like body-worn cameras, officer wellness, and safety programs, and any number of measures,” Gupta said Tuesday. This statement falls in stark contrast to her testimony on defunding the police in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in June.
Gupta’s confirmation hearings will continue Wednesday and this week, as Republicans make a concerted effort to provide context for why Gupta’s radical anti-law enforcement stance and inflammatory rhetoric contradict her appointment to the Department of Justice.
See all Vanita Gupta reporting by The Federalist here.