Despite strong public support for election integrity and voter I.D. laws, CNN continues to portray Republican voting reform bills as racist and detrimental to democracy. The “news” network even pushed President Biden’s radical declaration that these bills are “a 21st century Jim Crow assault.” On Wednesday night’s episode of OutFront, host Erin Burnett hailed Texas Democratic State Representative Celia Israel for “sacrificing a lot” by fleeing the state in an attempt to halt Republican election bills.
They began the segment by ranting about Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell denouncing the President’s extreme rhetoric. Both Burnett and Israel couldn’t understand why McConnell would label the Jim Crow comparison as “nonsense” and instead doubled down on the wild assertion. Israel laid out her thoughts on McConnell’s remarks:
I've been on the Elections Committee in the Texas legislature for four years. I would suggest the Senator needs to read the bill...it criminalizes precinct workers, we all know those are the retirees who do the work of running the elections, criminalizes them for not following procedure. It tells people that work in a Houston refinery or at a plant in Samsung, we’re not going to adjust our early vote times to give you some overnight times when you're working three shifts.
Israel also whined about the tremendous “sacrifice” she and her colleagues made: “The Texas legislature and the Texas Democrats, in particular, we’re sacrificing our -- a lot personally, financially in order to come to Washington D.C.” Right, because it is such a sacrifice for them to break quorum and abandon the jobs Texas voters elected them to do, and then take private planes to Washington. Burnett unsurprisingly empathized with Israel who put off her wedding in order to go to D.C.
In reality, this move is just a last-ditch effort for Texas Democrats to do whatever it takes to block Republican voting reform bills even if it means completely rejecting their responsibilities as public servants. Yet, they somehow continue to smear conservatives as the ones who are “anti-democratic.”
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Below is a full transcript of the segment, click "expand" to read:
CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront
7:17 p.m. EST
ERIN BURNETT: Tonight Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell mocking President Biden for saying controversial Republican voting laws are quote “The most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War.”
[start video clip]
SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL [R-KY]: What utter nonsense. It would be laugh-out-loud funny if it wasn't so completely and totally irresponsible. Voter I.D. protections are supported by majorities of white Americans, black Americans, and Hispanic Americans, but president Biden calls these things, quote, “A 21st century Jim Crow assault.” One big lie after another.
[end video clip]
BURNETT: Out front now, Democratic State Representative Celia Israel of Texas, one of the lawmakers who fled Texas for Washington even though she was supposed to get married tomorrow, but instead she's in Washington to try to stop the vote on the controversial Republican elections bill. So Representative Israel, thanks for being with me. So, Leader McConnell, you hear him mocks President Biden and says it's nonsense to equate voter I.D. provisions to Jim Crow. You are fighting a bill that does have new voter I.D. requirements for absentee voters. What’s your reaction to McConnell?
STATE REPRESENTATIVE CELIA ISRAEL (D): I've been on the Elections Committee in the Texas legislature for four years. I would suggest the Senator needs to read the bill. It criminalizes, poll watcher—it criminalizes precinct workers, we all know those are the retirees who do the work of running the elections criminalizes them for not following procedure. It tells people that work in a Houston refinery or at a plant in Samsung, we’re not going to adjust our early vote times to give you some overnight times when you're working three shifts. Counties tried to do something creative, especially during a pandemic, and the legislature for no good reason has clamped down on that government creativity to help people vote. We should be helping people vote. Why are we doing this? There is no coincidence that 11 million Texans voted. It was a record turnout for us. We need to do better, but that was their response.
BURNETT: So, you and your colleagues met today, I know, Representative, with Democratic senators, and you're trying to get them to pass federal voting rights legislation. The reality is of course as we all know, they simply do not have the numbers to do that right now. Did they say anything that made you think that that could change, that they could actually pass a national voting rights bill?
ISRAEL: We're very pragmatic in Texas, Erin. We do not know the ways of Washington. So our message was, you know, we love our Tex-Mex food in Texas. If you can't get the combination plate, at least give us the rice and beans. Let's see what we can get done, something like online voter registration, eliminating or lowering those criminal standards for just retirees who are trying to work a poll. There’s a bunch of good things in there in which there is support. Let’s – let’s—let’s not hold back on moving forward at this historic time. State after state is going to be doing redistricting maps later this year. It's really important that we make sure that we correct this now. We can't wait. The Texas legislature and the Texas Democrats, in particular, we’re sacrificing our -- a lot personally, financially in order to come to Washington D.C. And we're going to meet with everybody that we can to tell our story.
BURNETT: And so you know when you talk about what you're sacrificing, you are sacrificing a lot. You were going to marry your partner of 26 years on the statehouse floor. You had waited to get married until same-sex marriage was legal in Texas, and you waited. You waited a long time. I know that this date means so much to you in so many ways, but you know, waiting 26 years and now have to put it on hold. Why was it so important to you to make this sacrifice to join your colleagues in Washington?
ISRAEL: Well, I'm an Ann Richards Democrat. I love this state so much. And things are really – really getting bad in Texas and we felt like it was important for us to put everything on a shelf, let's leave, let’s break quorum, let’s go to D.C. and tell our story because Texas continues to drive to the bottom. I know my Republican friends are not happy with us right now but we'll hug it out when we get back home. But for now, it was important for all of us to tell our kids and our loved ones, “I'll see you as soon as we can get back to Texas.” We love this state and that's why we're in D.C. We don't run away from a fight. We've taken the fight back to D.C.
BURNETT: Alright, well thank you so very much. I appreciate your time, Representative.
ISRAEL: Erin, I'm having -- my friends are having a -- a party tonight that was supposed to be my bachelorette party. I'll say hi to my friends and partner, so Linda back in Austin, Texas. I Love you all.
BURNETT: Alright, well I hope that they are celebrating and of course that you'll be able to celebrate the real wedding soon.
ISRAEL: Thank you.
BURNETT: Thank you so much.