WASHINGTON, Ga. - The pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Reverend Raphael Warnock, has just spent his first full day as Senator Warnock.
The senator spoke with FOX 5 senior anchor Russ Spencer from his new office at Capitol Hill. He acknowledges the divisions in Georgia and the country but insists it is important that former President Donald Trump stand trial in the Senate.
"I think we have to remind one another that at the end of the day we are an American people we’re one people," Warnock said.
Warnock said his rise from a child born in Savannah public housing to the U. S. Senate is a testament to the greatness of this country. As are, he said, the firsts accomplished by the woman who swore him in Wednesday, Vice President Kamala Harris. And his colleague Jon Ossoff, the first Jewish man to represent Georgia in the U. S Senate.
Spencer: "It's hard to imagine a more consequential time politically. What is your top priority?
Warnock: "Well, my top priority is to make sure that the people of Georgia get the relief that they need in the midst of this global pandemic. That has then created an economic turned down of the likes of which we haven't seen in 75 years. So, we've lost lives and we've lost livelihoods. And people need relief, they need it urgently."
Spencer: "Are you all concerned that the emphasis perhaps on a senate impeachment trial of the former president is going to interfere with getting those things done? And with the unity that President Biden is called for?"
Warnock: "I think we can walk and chew gum at the same time. You know there a lot of things that those of us who run for office make promises regarding while we're running. We should keep those promises. But yesterday, I swore an oath to do one thing and that is to defend the Constitution. That's the one thing I swore an oath to do. And, um, these constitutional questions, they don't come up at our convenience."
Senator Warnock said he will sit as an impartial juror when the time comes.
Spencer: "[You] represent one of the most divided states in this divided nation. What do you say today to the Republicans who didn't vote for you who are going to see you on the ballot again in a couple of years who are concerned that you are a ‘socialist’ and worried about that total control that they didn't want the Democrats to have?
Warnock: "Oh, I think folks who have watched my career know that I believe in our American system. My dad was a small business owner. I have created a job center we did in the middle of the last great recession on the campus of Ebenezer Baptist Church. I believe in our free enterprise system."
Senator Warnock was elected to serve the remaining two years of the six-year term of Johnny Isakson, who resigned for health reasons. That means the beginning of his reelection campaign is likely just months away.
Download the FOX 5 Atlanta app for breaking news and weather alerts.