‘It Did Sound Like A Physical Threat’: Jeffrey Toobin Calls Schumer’s SCOTUS Comments ‘Inappropriate’ And ‘Wrong’

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin conceded Thursday that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s comments outside the Supreme Court were “inappropriate” and “wrong.”

While the justices deliberated an abortion-rights case inside, Schumer joined a protest outside the building. Calling out Trump-appointed Justices Brett Kavanaugh ad Neil Gorsuch by name, Schumer added, “You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price! You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”

Toobin appeared on “New Day” to address the comments. (RELATED: CNN Panel Agrees: Trump Defense Team Was Right To Keep It Short)


“Well, if you parse what Chuck Schumer said, it was wrong. It was inappropriate,” Toobin explained. “It was not the way you should talk about the Supreme Court. Frankly, no one noticed what he said until Roberts intervened. But it was political hyperbole of a sort that politicians shouldn’t engage in. What’s really unusual here is Roberts getting involved.”

Toobin went on to say that what made it truly remarkable was the fact that Roberts had not intervened to rebuke President Donald Trump, who often criticizes publicly anyone with whom he disagrees.

“When Chuck Schumer is not exactly the American political figure we think of who usually engages in invective, in nasty politics. That’s, of course, the president, and Roberts has been almost — not totally — almost entirely silent about the president,” Toobin continued.

“This is where some liberal defenders of Chuck Schumer speak up,” host John Berman added. “The chief justice chose not to say anything in the last few weeks when Trump was talking about Justice Sotomayor and Ginsburg.”

Toobin pushed back, saying, “If you want to start parsing what everyone said … the president did not say about Roberts — about Ginsburg and Sotomayor — that they are going to reap the whirlwind, that they are in physical danger. He said they should recuse themselves. It was a ridiculous argument, but it was a political argument. It wasn’t a personal attack.”

“And you don’t really have to parse what Chuck Schumer said,” Berman agreed. “You just have to listen to it. He said, ‘You will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you.’ He said this specifically to Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh.”

“And certainly I’m not going to defend what Chuck Schumer said. It was wrong. It was inappropriate. It did sound like a physical threat,” Toobin concluded, noting that Schumer’s record suggested that he didn’t actually mean it as a physical threat.

CNN’s John Avlon agreed with Toobin, saying that Schumer’s comments had certainly “crossed the line.”