Remarks by Attorney General Eric Holder imputing racism to his critics reflect "a political immaturity that is truly staggering," former federal prosecutor Joe diGenova told Newsmax TV
"MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Wednesday.
"Any normal person who had been in government as long as Eric has been . . . would've learned by now that this type of incendiary rhetoric, which is baseless in fact . . . is simply unacceptable for a senior government official," said diGenova.
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In a fiery retort to the attorney general's recent interview with ABC News, diGenova said both his "old friend" Holder
and Holder's boss, President Barack Obama
, were alleging racism against an unspecified "some" to excuse their failings in office and deflect legitimate criticism.
He called Holder's generalized claim of racial resentment
"utter nonsense" and "faculty lounge crap." He also suggested that Holder was taking his rhetorical cues from the president, whom diGenova compared to a "street urchin" running a con.
Holder told ABC's "This Week"
in an interview that aired Sunday, "There's a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that's directed at me, directed at the president," and he concluded, "I don't think this is the thing that's a main driver, but for some there's a racial animus."
DiGenova called that analysis "almost paranoid."
"Neither the president nor the attorney general has been treated differently than any other president or any other attorney general," said diGenova. "It's as if they don't think there's any basis for any criticism of them at any time.
"This is called politics," he continued. "When you are in power and you do things, you're going to be criticized for it."
DiGenova said Holder and Obama both have given critics ample cause. He cited Holder's appointment of an Obama campaign donor
to investigate allegations of IRS tea party targeting, and his defense of the president's power to have Americans abroad killed
as enemy combatants.
He also mentioned this administration's
handling of foreign policy, illegal immigration and the ill-fated gun ring investigation that ended with the murder of a Border Patrol agent.
"There's plenty of legitimate stuff here to be concerned about," said diGenova.
"That doesn't mean there aren't some racists out there who don't like them because they're black," said diGenova. "I'm sure there are. But this is about politics and governing, and it's quite clear that both the attorney general and the president are not very good at governing. And people are telling them that, and they don't want to hear it."
DiGenova predicted that Holder's Justice Department will be remembered as the most politicized in history — a posture diGenova characterized as coming straight from the top.
"This is what the American people don't like about this president: they know they're being gamed by a street urchin," said diGenova.
Asked to rate Holder's performance, one to 10, as the country's chief law enforcement officer for six years, diGenova said, "I give him a two at best."
"I'm being polite," he added. "Eric is actually an old friend, but I'm sure I'm not going to be his friend anymore. I love the guy, but he's not done well as attorney general and he has not acquitted himself well in the last 48 hours."
DiGenova said Holder's racial rhetoric as attorney general extends back to his first days in office and a speech at Justice Department headquarters calling the United States "a nation of cowards"
when it comes to confronting racism.
He said Holder should be "ashamed" of that February 2009 remark, but said he makes such comments "because he's a Democrat, and that's what Democrats do."
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