Georgia Senate candidate Raphael Warnock compared U.S. senators to “gangsters and thugs” in a 2017 sermon after the body passed the Tax Cuts and Job Act, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Warnock, the head pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, has drawn criticism from Republicans over other remarks from sermons as well as his defense of President Obama’s former pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
“While others were sleeping, members of the United States Senate declared war, launched a vicious and evil attack on the most vulnerable people in America,” Warnock told congregants regarding the tax legislation. “Herod is on the loose. Herod is a cynical politician, who’s willing to kill children and kill the children’s health program in order to preserve his own wealth and his own power.”
Warnock went on, “On Friday night, the United States Senate decided by a slim majority to pick the pockets of the poor, the sick, the old, and the yet unborn in order to line the pockets of the ultra-rich. Don’t tell me about gangsters and thugs on the streets, there are more gangsters and thugs in Washington, D.C., in the Capitol than there are…” The pastor paused as congregants applauded the sermon.
The legislation was passed without the support of any Democratic senator. While Warnock’s opponent Kelly Loeffler was not in the Senate at the time, Georgia Republican senator David Perdue cast his vote in favor of the bill.
Republicans and Democrats are focusing resources toward the Senate runoff elections on January 5, pitting Warnock against Loeffler, as well the incumbent Perdue against progressive challenger Jon Ossoff. If Democrats are able to win both seats, the Senate will be split 50-50 along party lines, with incoming vice president Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote.