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Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., downplayed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s 2020 statement that Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch would “pay the price” if they ruled the wrong way on abortion, after an armed suspect was charged with attempted murder for allegedly trying to kill Kavanaugh before the court rules in an abortion case.

In an interview with “Fox News Sunday,” Coons compared the New York Democrat’s words with former President Donald Trump’s language before the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2001, claiming that what Schumer said was not as bad.

“Here’s a key distinction: What Sen. Schumer was saying was that he was upset, he was alarmed, he was concerned at the prospect that justices would reverse decades of a well-established fundamental constitutional right in our country. What he did not say was, ‘Let’s go attack them,'” Coons said.

“The point of the January 6 hearing is to prove that that is in fact what President Trump did,” he added.

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Schumer’s remarks, delivered at a rally outside the Supreme Court building while justices heard arguments in a different abortion case, drew a rare rebuke from Chief Justice John Roberts.

“I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price,” Schumer said. “You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”

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Schumer later apologized for his remarks. Even though his words were directed toward the justices, he claimed that he meant that there would be political repercussions for Senate Republicans. 

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On Sunday, Coons stopped short of condoning Schumer’s words. When asked if he sees no problem with the majority leader’s language, Coons made clear, “That’s not what I said.”

“I think all of us need to reduce the level of our rhetoric and be mindful of the fact that stirring up potential violence is not a good or constructive thing to be doing at this moment in our country, by any political leader,” he stated.

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