WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Friday said it was “crazy” and “embarrassing” the way the Republican-led Senate has held up confirmation of his attorney general nominee, Loretta Lynch.
“What are we doing here?” Obama said. “I have to say there are times when the dysfunction in the Senate just goes too far. This is an example of it. It’s gone too far. Enough. Enough.
“Call Loretta Lynch for a vote,” he said emphatically. “Get her confirmed.”
Lynch is the U.S. attorney for New York’s Eastern District and would succeed Attorney General Eric Holder if confirmed. She would become the first black woman to serve as the nation’s top law officer.
Dozens of Senate Republicans have opposed her for various reasons, chiefly her support of Obama’s immigration policies.
The president spoke at a news conference alongside visiting Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Asked about Lynch’s nomination, Obama praised “some outbreaks of bipartisanship and common sense” in Congress recently on issues such as fixing a longstanding problem with Medicare payments to doctors.
“Yet what we still have is this crazy situation where a woman everybody agrees is qualified … has been now sitting there longer than the previous seven attorney general nominees combined,” Obama said. He said there was no reason for the delay other than “political gamesmanship in the Senate” on issues unrelated to Lynch.
“This is embarrassing, a process like this,” Obama said.