Earlier this month, a CNN contributor dismissed an African-American who served as a top aide to Sen. Jeff Sessions as, in effect, a token. The former Sessions aide, William Smith, was debating Angela Rye, a strong critic of Sessions’ record on civil rights.
Rye told Smith: “Because you are the one black guy that he hired on the committee doesn’t make him a civil rights leader.” Perhaps realizing what she had just implied, Rye paused for a moment, and then added, “I’m gonna leave it at that.” Smith responded, “You can leave it at that, because you have nothing.”
Smith is more than a “black guy” Sessions hired on a committee. He was the first African-American chief counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
If hiring Smith for this top position was a meaningless gesture, then it should be the case that Democrats — who fancy themselves champions of minority rights — routinely hire African-Americans for top positions. But they do not.
The Washington Post reports that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is under pressure over the poor record of congressional Democrats with regard to minority hiring. In response, Schumer reportedly will urge his fellow Democrats to adopt the Rooney Rule, which requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority applicant for top positions.
Thus, whereas Sessions years ago hired an African-American as his top counsel, Schumer is now trying to get Democrats to interview African-American candidates.
Statistics on the hiring of minorities for congressional positions are hard to come by, which may tell you something right there. Post reporter Ed O’Keefe resorts to begging readers for information on the subject (“if you have stats about your office, or thoughts on the issue, email me,” he implores).
However, O’Keefe is able to report that “the only black chief of staff works for a Republican senator, Tim Scott of South Carolina, who is also black.” O’Keefe also quotes the views of several Democratic staffers on the subject. One staffer said:
Every time I hear any of the Democratic senators, including my own boss, talk about diversity, I cringe, because it’s all one big lie. That they’ve been allowed to enjoy this reputation as a party that values diversity, while doing next to nothing of substance to align their actions with their words, is expert-level deception.
Another described minority hiring among Senate Democrats as “awful.”
Are congressional Democrats discriminating against African-Americans? I don’t know.
I do know that Jeff Sessions’ decision, years ago, to hire an African-American as chief counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee was not meaningless. It stands, instead, as strong rebuttal evidence against the bogus charge of racism being leveled against the Alabama Senator.
Here’s video of the debate between Smith and Rye: