WASHINGTON -- Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) said Friday that Loretta Lynch is an "extraordinary" nominee for U.S. attorney general, and called on Senate Republicans to stop holding up her confirmation vote.
In a call with reporters, Giuliani said he is a "very dedicated Republican" and doesn't always agree with President Barack Obama. But he does think that a president should be able to get his or her appointees confirmed by the Senate.
"The confirmation process has been really tremendously distorted. … It's become Republicans torture Democrats, Democrats torture Republicans. Who started it, God knows," he said. "But as a Republican and looking at the Constitution, I find Loretta Lynch not only to be an acceptable appointment, but I find her to be an extraordinary appointment."
Lynch's nomination has been languishing for more than 130 days. Republicans were slow to schedule her confirmation hearing, and then slow to hold a committee vote. She's been ready for a Senate vote for weeks, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that he won't give Lynch a vote until the Senate passes an unrelated human trafficking bill, which has stalled over an anti-abortion provision.
The Senate is scheduled to turn to budget matters next week and then recess for two weeks, which means Lynch's vote now looks likely to get punted into at least mid-April. She's already waited more than three times as long as it took the Senate to confirm Attorney General John Ashcroft under President George W. Bush, and twice as long as it took to confirm current Attorney General Eric Holder.
Giuliani, who has worked with Lynch in the past, said he's personally reached out to seven or eight Senate Republicans to encourage them to give Lynch a vote. He said many have told him they oppose her because she plans to uphold Obama's executive actions on immigration, but Giuliani told them to remember that there may be a Republican in the White House in two years, and Senate Democrats will be called on to approve that president's nominees.
"I have made that point to several Republicans," he said. "I have some calls scheduled today with several more. I am working very closely with Lindsey Graham."
If confirmed, Lynch would make history as the first African-American female U.S. attorney general. Some Democrats have suggested her race and gender are a factor in why Republicans are holding her up.
Asked about that piece of it Friday, Giuliani said there's one way to find out.
"Just change her name to Lawrence Lynch and look at her qualifications," he said. "This woman is overqualified to be the attorney general of the United States."