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MSNBC Commentator Likens Ted Cruz's SCOTUS Questioning to a 'Hate Crime'

Al Drago/Pool via AP

MSNBC commentator Chai Komanduri claimed Tuesday that Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz questioning Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson about whether she supports critical race theory was like witnessing the senator "commit a hate crime" against Jackson.

Cruz posed several questions to Jackson about her knowledge of critical race theory and if she supports the controversial doctrine. Jackson serves as a trustee of Georgetown Day School, an elite Washington, D.C. private school that promotes author Ibram X. Kendi's book, "How to be an Antiracist," among other works tied to critical race theory. The judge has also previously offered praise for New York Times reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones' book, "The 1619 Project."

Amid a break in the Supreme Court confirmation hearings Tuesday night, Komanduri said on MSNBC's "The Beat" that Jackson was only being questioned about critical race theory because she is a black woman and claimed that questions on the subject were intended to cast her as a "black radical who is out to get white people."

He also said seeing Cruz press Jackson during the hearings felt like he was witnessing a "hate crime."

"It's really ugly," Komanduri said. "Quite frankly, it looked like I saw Ted Cruz commit a hate crime, in that hearing room. It was McCarthyism at its worst."

The guest commentator also asserted that Cruz and Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R) were attempting to stir up racial grievances against Jackson.

"He wants to gin up white grievance, him and Marsha Blackburn, the GOP want to gin up white grievance, ahead of the midterm and link Judge Jackson to that cause," he said. "It's really frankly was disgusting and ugly to watch."

Fellow guest Yodit Tewolde, who is a criminal defense attorney and a host of the Black News Channel, said Jackson is "overqualified" for the bench and endured unfair treatment based on her being a black woman. Tewolde alleged that "irrelevant and uninformed attacks" were launched against the nominee by "underqualified men."

She also accused GOP senators of attempting to "misinform and confuse" Americans about Jackson's qualifications.

"They were misinformed, they were trying to misinform and confuse the American people, rather than honestly rallying behind one of the most qualified individuals for the high court, and instead, political posturing is what you got," Tewolde said.

Tuesday marked the second day senators questioned Jackson during confirmation hearings. If confirmed to the bench, she would become the first black woman to serve on the Supreme Court.

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