Rangel Urges Fairness and Equity’ in Speech
Embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) made a plea for “fairness and equity” in a speech to the Urban League on Wednesday that was at times humorous, poignant and combative.
Rangel didn’t specifically mention the ethics case pending against him, which is scheduled to go to a public ethics subcommittee session Thursday, but he seemed to be referencing it.
“Whether it’s personal or political, we all know that life ain’t been no crystal stair,” Rangel told the group, quoting a Langston Hughes poem. “And what we have to do as a people, as an organization, as a Congress, as a nation is [ensure] that fairness and equity includes us, and any time, for any purpose, we find ourselves excluded, there’s something that we can’t do. We can’t give up and … we can’t give in. And all I can promise you is when the sun is shining and everything is settled, we once again will be standing together with dignity and with honor, to complete our jobs for our communities and for this great United States.”
Rangel’s lawyers have been trying to negotiate a plea deal with ethics committee staff to stave off a full-blown, public ethics trial that would likely begin in September. The allegations against Rangel are expected to be unveiled by the ethics panel Thursday.
Rangel’s speech was largely about issues that he has fought for, including a reference to his taking part in the 54-mile march from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery as part of the fight for civil rights, and fighting unemployment. The veteran New York lawmaker also spoke proudly of his entrance into the Congress in 1970 and the growth of the Congressional Black Caucus in the House from 13 Members then to 42 today. He also spoke happily of a younger generation carrying on the older generation’s legacy.
“We all stand on each other’s shoulders,” Rangel said.