Rep. Pramila Jayapal admittedly lost her temper while grilling Attorney General William Barr for his response to the Black Lives Matter protests on Tuesday.
According to Business Insider, the Washington Democrat had a heated exchange with Barr, telling him he took an “aggressive” approach to stop the protests. In a moment that has been shared all over the internet, Jayapal said that it is a “real discrepancy” in the way Barr treated Black Lives Matter protesters compared to the anti-lockdown protesters who stormed the Michigan capitol building in May carrying assault weapons and threatened to kill Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
“The point I’m trying to make here … is that there is a real discrepancy in how you react as the attorney general — the top cop in this country — when white men with swastikas storm a government building with guns, there is no need for the president to ‘activate’ you because they’re getting the president’s personal agenda done,” Jayapal said.
“But when Black people and people of color protest police brutality, systemic racism, and the president’s very own lack of response to those critical issues, then you forcibly remove them with armed federal officers [and] pepper bombs, because they are considered terrorists by the president,” she continued.
The incident in Michigan led to a group of armed Black volunteers to escort Rep. Sarah Anthony (D-MI) back to the Michigan capitol several days later.
Barr responded saying he was not aware of the threats made against Gov. Whitmer and added “there are a lot of protests around the United States,” and was worried about the escalating situation in Washington, DC, with protesters outside the White House.
During another heated exchange between the two, Barr began to mention he thought Michigan authorities could handle the protests before Jayapal cut him off saying, “You are supposed to represent the people of the United States of America, not violate people’s First Amendment rights.”
“You are supposed to uphold democracy and secure equal justice under the law, not violently dismantle certain protesters based on the president’s personal agenda,” she added.
At another point during the hearing, Jayapal told the attorney general, “I’m starting to lose my temper” when he tried to interrupt her.
President Trump has been at odds with the Black Lives Matter movement since the protests in 2016. When New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio commissioned a Black Lives Matter mural outside of Trump Tower in June, Trump called the mural “a symbol of hate.”