Obama: GOP has delayed Loretta Lynch vote longer than 7 previous attorneys general combined

Michael Walsh
Loretta Lynch is sworn in to testify before a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on her nomination to be U.S. attorney general on Capitol Hill in Washington January 28, 2015. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

President Barack Obama went after Republicans for failing to confirm Loretta Lynch as U.S. attorney general.

Obama lamented that GOP leaders in Congress are still denying her a simple yes-or-no vote, long after he nominated her for the post  one of the most important in his cabinet  on Nov. 8, 2014.

“This time Republican leaders in Congress won’t even let her nomination come up for a vote,” he said in his weekly address on Saturday. “In fact," Obama added, by Monday Lynch's nomination
"will have been languishing on the Senate floor for longer than the seven previous attorneys general combined.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) decided to put off Lynch’s confirmation vote until the stalled Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act gets off the ground.

That legislation, intended to help sex trafficking victims, has become ensnared in abortion politics.

Earlier, Obama said, Republicans held up her nomination because of his actions on immigration reform.

He implored Congress to stop “playing politics” with law enforcement and national security and to support politicians in both parties who are dedicated to positive reform of the country’s criminal justice system.

On Friday, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has been an outspoken critic of the president, called on his party to give Lynch a vote.

“It's become Republicans torture Democrats, Democrats torture Republicans. Who started it, God knows," he said, in an interview with the Huffington Post. "But as a Republican, and looking at the Constitution, I find Loretta Lynch not only to be an acceptable appointment, but I find her to be an extraordinary appointment."

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), who vied with Obama for the presidency in 2008, has argued, “No Republican should vote for her confirmation.”

“We should not even bring it up until this human trafficking bill is disposed of,” he said on “The Hugh Hewitt Show.”

If she is confirmed by the Senate, Lynch will replace the retiring Attorney General Eric Holder as the country's top law enforcement official.

When asked on MSNBC if race played an issue in the delay, Holder replied, "My guess is that there is probably not a huge racial component to this, that this is really just D.C. politics, Washington at its worst."

Lynch, the first African-American woman nominated for Attorney General, is currently the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

This has been the longest confirmation process for an attorney general in three decades, according to Obama.

“Republicans promised that Congress would function smoothly with them in charge,” he said. “Here’s a small chance for them to prove it.”