(March 5) Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York just proved again that if a politician doesn’t do an apology right even after two tries, then he isn’t really sorry. Alas, American public life seems to have lost whatever vestiges remained of the art and grace of sincere repentance.

Schumer has been justifiably under fire from across the political spectrum for appearing to threaten Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh on Wednesday. He made matters not better but worse when he subsequently issued a statement (through a spokesman) refusing to acknowledge he had erred, instead both claiming he had said something entirely different and attacking Chief Justice John Roberts and “the right wing” for supposedly “deliberate misinterpretation” of Schumer’s remarks.

Obviously, Schumer’s nasty churlishness didn’t work, so finally, he took to the Senate floor this morning to admit in person that he “should not have used the words [he] used yesterday.”

“They didn’t come out the way I intended to,” he continued, before again trying to recast his earlier statement in a different light. Later, again, “I shouldn’t have used the words I did, but in no way was I making a threat.”

Note, though, that he never used a word such as “apologize,” “sorry,” or “regret.” Worse still, he pivoted not once but twice, in that very statement, to attacking others for daring to criticize him. He said it “is a gross distortion” to imply that he meant to say what he did. Furthermore, he said, the problem was not really the content of his original remarks, but it was “Republicans who were busy manufacturing outrage over these comments.”

This not only was not contrition; it wasn’t even in the realm of decency. This was akin to a mugger saying that, of course, he didn’t intend for his victim’s face to get in the way of his fist — and that witnesses were faking objections to the resultant blood and bruises they saw. …

[The full column is here.]


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