WASHINGTON – Amy Coney Barrett said the death of George Floyd was “very personal” for her family, telling senators on Tuesday she “wept” with her 17-year-old daughter over the Minneapolis man’s death in May.
Barrett’s voice started to crack as she discussed the footage of a Minneapolis officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck and the ripple effect it had on her seven children, including the two she adopted from Haiti.
Barrett, President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, had been asked whether she saw the video during her Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday.
Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.
In response to Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Barrett described sitting with her teenage daughter, who is Black, and crying.
“As you might imagine, given that I have two Black children, that was very, very personal for my family,” Barrett said about the footage.
Floyd, a Black man, died after an officer knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes in May. The footage of his death sparked massive protests in cities across the U.S. and discussions about racism in America.
Live coverage: Barrett defends her faith, says ‘rule of law’ would drive her judgment on Supreme Court
More: Amy Barrett’s law review articles show how Supreme Court rulings like Roe v. Wade could be challenged
Barrett said when the video was publicized her husband was camping with their sons and she was home with her 17-year-old daughter, who was born in Haiti.
“All of this was erupting. It was very difficult for her,” Barrett said. “We wept together in my room.”
She noted that her family has had continued discussions about racism and how she tried to explain it to her young children.
“I mean, my children, to this point in their lives, have had the benefit of growing up in a cocoon where they have not experienced hatred or violence,” she said.
Durbin then asked whether there is racism still in the U.S. and whether it is systemic in America.
“I think it is an entirely uncontroversial and obvious statement, given that we just discussed the George Floyd video, that racism persists in our country,” Barrett said.
She added that while racism still is a problem, she could not say whether it is systemic or how to fix it.
“Those things are policy questions. They are hotly contested policy questions,” she said, noting that diagnosing the issue of racism was “beyond what I am capable of doing as a judge.”
More: Read Trump Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s opening statement for Monday’s Senate hearing
How we got here:The battle over Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court, recapped
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: ‘We wept together’: Amy Coney Barrett says George Floyd video was personal for family