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House Dem. Presses Acting AG Whitaker on Charlottesville, Transgender Employees

On Friday, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) pressed Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker for his opinion of the white nationalists in Charlottesville and on the number of transgender employees at the Department of Justice (DOJ). Whitaker responded well, denouncing white nationalism and insisting that he would have no problem with transgender employees. What did Richmond expect him to say?

Richmond noted that the DOJ was created to protect civil rights and attacked the past two attorneys general for not elevating African-Americans into positions of leadership. "You mentioned Charlottesville and charging the person with 30 counts and I applaud you for that," he said. "Do you believe that in Charlottesville there were both people on both sides?"

Whitaker noted that the killing of a protester was charged as a "hate crime."

"But that's one individual," Richmond insisted. "I'm asking you in general, do you believe that there were good people that were protesting and there were good people that were anti-protestors? So I'm talking about the people marching with the tiki torches and the chants, do you think that some of them were good people is the short question?"

Whitaker responded with a clear denunciation of racism and hatred. "Congressman, there's no place in a civil society for hate, white supremacy, or for white nationalism," the acting AG said.

Richmond then proceeded to ask about transgender employees. "Out of the 115,000 employees that you have at DOJ, are any of them transgender?" he asked.

"Congressman, as I sit here today I don't know the answer to that question," Whitaker admitted. "I could imagine that generally based on the way the population is distributed that we would. I would also be happy to get back to you if those people identify that way."

The Democrat pressed him again, "Would you have a problem with a transgender person being from a clerk to an agent in the field for any of your law enforcement agencies?"

"No," the acting AG responded.

What responses did Cedric Richmond expect?

Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.