The United States Commission on Civil Rights has repeatedly emphasized the importance of positive leadership in helping the country to overcome the practice and policy of invidious discrimination. In view of this reality, Commission Chair Mary Frances Berry issued the following statement on behalf of the Commission:
We are appalled by Senator Trent Lott's recent reiteration of the view that Americans would be better off if the country had embraced a segregationist presidential candidate, notably Senator Strom Thurmond in 1948.
Senator Lott's record shows a long-standing hostility toward measures that the Commission has advanced in the national interest of civil rights enforcement. A few examples follow.
The Commission regards Senator Lott's actions, coupled with his recent statement, as directly contrary to positive political leadership in the cause of civil rights.