Sen. Dick Durbin is blasting Republican Mark Curran for comments the candidate made about U.S. Rep. John Lewis, who passed away Friday at the age of 80.
Curran, the former Lake County sheriff who is running against Durbin for a seat in the United States Senate, criticized Lewis’ support of abortion rights during his life, saying that the Congressman wasn’t “much of a civil rights leader.”
Durbin blasted Curran’s remarks, calling them a “disgusting” attack on Lewis’ legacy.
“Mark Curran’s public attack on John Lewis just days after his death is disgusting,” Durbin said. “To disparage Congressman Lewis, a truly selfless hero and relentless fighter for civil rights and equality, is a new low for Curran. It is time for responsible Illinois Republican Party leaders to clearly repudiate Curran’s hateful rhetoric.”
During the remarks, which Curran delivered at a Chicago rally urging city officials to protect a statue of Christopher Columbus that was the subject of an intense protest and clash between demonstrators and police on Friday, the Republican candidate said that Lewis’ support of abortion rights clashed with his legacy as a civil rights leader.
“He might have been instrumental in the fight for civil rights at one time, but John Lewis got in bed with Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry,” Curran said Sunday, at a rally in front of the Christopher Columbus statue in Chicago that was the subject of an intense protest on Friday. “Three out of five pregnancies in the African-American community end in abortion. If you want to know why there is violence in the streets of Chicago, why it’s the most violent city in America, it’s because there’s no respect for the sanctity of human life.
“So when you have a quote-unquote ‘civil rights leader’ saying ‘it’s okay to kill all these little Black and Hispanic babies in the womb, no big deal, let’s make it as easy as possible making these centers in the inner city,’ well, you’re not much of a civil rights leader,” he added.
In a series of social media posts after the speech, Curran insisted that he did not “disrespect” Lewis, and stood by his comments.
“I pointed out that although he was a hero of the Civil Rights Era, he later became a champion of abortion and a defender of Planned Parenthood, which are responsible for killing 19 million Black babies since 1973,” Curran said in one of his tweets.
Curran won the Republican Senate primary in March, fending off a group of challengers to capture the spot on the ballot opposite of Durbin. He will be running against the senator, as well as Libertarian candidate Danny Malouf and independent candidate Willie Wilson in the November general election.