Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), who has served in Congress for over 20 years, is now apologizing for his role in signing a 1994 crime bill that was detrimental to the urban poor and people of color.
In an emotional interview on MSNBC on Wednesday, Rush said, "I am ashamed of my role. I sincerely apologize to my God. I apologize to my community, to my family. That was the worst vote, as I look back on the years."
"Crack cocaine and the crime bill were the two worst issues, problems, catastrophes that the black community has suffered from in the last 15 years,” the Chicago politician added.
Rush explained that his vote on the Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act, which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton, was accompanied by "a lot of hope" and he believed the bill would deal with the "devastating crime." He went on to say that the crime bill as implemented had too many resources focused on "locking them up" and provided no resources for beneficial programs.
In 1996, then-first lady Hillary Clinton defended her husband’s bill during a routine campaign stop in New Hampshire, telling the nearly all-white crowd about the dangers of roaming gangs of young “super-predators.”
MSNBC host Tamron Hall pushed back this week, asking if an apology is enough since Rush has endorsed Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail.
Rush said that since the passage of the crime bill he has "remained consistent" on advocating for better schools and housing as well as increasing economic development in black communities.
“I endorse Hillary Clinton and I fully expect Hillary Clinton to reverse the horrendous outcomes” of the bill, Rush told Hall.