Adopting rhetoric similar to Illinois Senator and Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin's "back of the bus" comment that drew the ire of Republicans, about a dozen women congregated outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office Thursday to protest the delay on confirming Loretta Lynch.
The group, visiting Capitol Hill as part of the Black Women's Roundtable 2015 National Women of Power Summit, allege Lynch's race and sex impacted the Kentucky Republican's timetable for voting on the nomination and used the upcoming Easter holiday to inject religion into their plea. "We think it, first of all, it's ironic and distasteful that during this upcoming holy week that she would be used as a sacrificial lamb for — like a pawn being played. First it was immigration. Now its human trafficking. We don't even know whether it'll be held up further," said Barbara Williams-Skinner, a Maryland civil rights leader. "We think it's unconscionable, it's immoral, and a man who calls himself Christian, this Mitch McConnell ... should do better for America."
Organizers called the confrontation outside the majority leader's door a protest. But they were also granted a 20-minute meeting with McConnell's chief of staff, according to Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and head of the roundtable.
"We felt like we received talking points," Campbell told CQ Roll Call afterward.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, who met with the women between House votes, said they would continue to pressure the GOP for "holding hostage the top law enforcement officer in the nation," throughout the upcoming recess. "The perception is that her race and sex have an impact," the Texas Democrat said. "Would anyone else be treated with a five-week delay, blaming it on a dispute of legislators over legislation?"
McConnell indicated this week that the bill designed to combat human trafficking, opposed by Democrats due to abortion-related language , remains tied to the nomination. He said people on both sides of the aisle are working to get through the impasse, and he hopes they can do it. Meanwhile, GOP backers of the nomination are holding firm. Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report. Related: Lynch’s Republican Backers Holding Firm Democrats Blast ‘Back of the Bus’ Status for Loretta Lynch (Video) (Updated) The 114th: CQ Roll Call's Guide to the New Congress Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.