Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D., Ill.) said on Wednesday during a progressive summit in Washington, D.C. that Attorney General Jeff Sessions would love to see black people "in the back of the bus again."
Gutierrez joined several Democratic members of Congress who have been floated as potential 2020 presidential candidates to speak at the "We the People" Summit where they discussed several issues, including immigration and taxes.
The Illinois Democrat concluded his speech by castigating Sessions and accusing him of wanting to "roll back the clock" on women, gays, African Americans, and the Hispanic community.
"Sessions, he'd just love for black people to be in the back of the bus again," Gutierrez said. "He'd love for women to be in the kitchen. He'd love for gay people to be in the closet again, and for me not to have a microphone to be able to speak to anybody."
He was asked about his comments later Wednesday evening on CNN's "Erin Burnett Out Front," prompting him to defend his remarks.
"I believe every last thing I said," he said.
"This is a man that, when he came before the Senate to try to become a federal judge, Coretta Scott King came forward. There were all kinds of testimony about him calling black men boys," Gutierrez said. "This is a man who is trying to strip black people and diminish their voting rights."
Gutierrez's remarks are similar to a one former Vice President Joe Biden made in August 2012 about the Republican presidential ticket putting Democrats "back in chains." Biden's comment drew a strong rebuke from people on both sides of the political aisle.